Heartburn. Something else to add to annoying pregnancy symptoms list. Many women experience heartburn for the first time during pregnancy and while it’s common and generally harmless, it’s most certainly uncomfortable.
Heartburn (also known as acid indigestion or acid reflux) is a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. It’s caused by some of the hormonal changes in your body, primarily Relaxin, which cases the muscles in your throat to relax and let the acid from your stomach back into your throat. And cue the burning sensation.
Just a heads up if you are suffering from heartburn in your pregnancy it also might get worse when you lie down or bend over (god forbid if you get a chance relax).
Many women start experiencing heartburn in the second half of pregnancy as your little one grows, there’s less space resulting in the squashing of your digestive organs, causing heartburn. Unfortunately, it just another symptom that you’ll have to endure your baby arrives.
Though you may not be able to stop heartburn completely, you can take steps to reduce your discomfort:
- Avoid food and beverages that’ll only fuel your heartburn.These include fizzy drinks, alcohol (which you should avoid anyway during pregnancy), caffeine, chocolate and acidic foods like citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, mustard, vinegar, spicy, highly seasoned, fried, or fatty foods.
- Don’t eat big meals. Instead, eat several small meals throughout the day. Take your time eating and chew thoroughly.
- Have some chewing gum after eating. Chewing gum stimulates your salivary glands, and saliva can help neutralize acid.
- Don’t eat close to bedtime. Give yourself two to three hours to digest before you lie down.
- Sleep propped up. Elevating your upper body will help keep your stomach acids where they belong and not causing you heartburn.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. It’s important to avoid any tightness around your waist and tummy. If you haven’t already made the switch to maternity wear, now is the time.
- Bend at the knees instead of at the waist. Remember we said bending over would only aggravate it above?
- Don’t smoke. Smoking actually boosts stomach acidity which will make any heartburn that you are experiencing worse.
- Take an antacid. If all else fails you can take an antacid. Just make sure you consult the pharmacist as to which ones are safe during pregnancy
If these measures don’t help, talk to your doctor about prescription heartburn medications that are safe during pregnancy.