Heartburn during Pregnancy –How to Keep Your Stomach Acids in Place
A lot of pregnant women report symptoms of heartburn during the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy. Heartburn also known as acid indigestion is characterized by a strong and burning pain in the chest. This is typically caused by stomach acids from your stomach passing through your esophagus. Heartburn is commonly associated with indigestion. In fact, these pregnancy symptoms are often experienced together. There are several things that you can do to ease the discomfort associated with heartburn and indigestion.
Heartburn experienced during pregnancy is often caused by the changing hormone levels in the pregnant woman’s body. These hormone changes can affect the muscles of the digestive tract. Moreover, this can affect how different kinds of food are tolerated by the pregnant woman’s digestive tract. The pregnancy hormones cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, which allows stomach acids to rise up into the esophagus. In addition, the expanding uterus can crowd the abdomen, pushing the stomach acids upward.
The symptom of indigestion and heartburn experienced during pregnancy is the same as what everyone feels. Basically, one feels pain in the stomach or the chest. This happens soon after drinking or eating. However, there can be some delays between drinking or eating and developing indigestion or heartburn. While you may feel heartburn at any point of your pregnancy, the symptom becomes rather severe late in a pregnancy. In fact, you may feel and experience additional symptoms like regurgitation, belching, bloating and nausea and vomiting.
Who Are At Risk of Developing Heartburn?
While pregnancy experience may be different for every woman, heartburn is a considered a common symptom. Moreover, there is a good chance that you will experience indigestion and heartburn when you have the same experience before you became pregnant. If you are currently in the third trimester of your pregnancy then you are more prone to developing this pregnancy symptom.
Treating Heartburn during Pregnancy
In some cases, when heartburn experienced during pregnancy is mild, changing your diet as well as your lifestyle may be enough. However, if you have severe heartburn experiences while pregnant, medications may be prescribed by your health care provider to ease the symptoms. It is important to take note that you should consult your health care provider first before taking any medications, as some medications have negative effect on your unborn baby.
When it comes to lifestyle and eating habit changes, there are a few things that you can do. Here is a list of the tips to help relieve this pregnancy symptom.
- Eat Small Frequent Meals. One way to prevent indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy is to eat small frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large meals every day.
- Don’t Eat Before Going to Bed. You should also avoid eating three hours before going to bed.
- Proper Eating Position. You should position yourself properly when eating. You should sit up straight when eating as this can take the pressure off your abdomen. If there is less pressure on your abdomen, gastric acids will not be pushed upward to your esophagus.
- Drink Milk. Experts say that drinking a glass of milk will help relieve heartburn. You can keep a glass of milk in your bedside at night. You can drink this in case you wake up with heartburn.
- Take Note of the Triggers and Avoid Them. Like any other symptoms, heartburn may become worse by specific triggers. These triggers may include eating chocolate, drinking fruit juice, or simply bending over. You should take note of the particular foods, activities or drinks that trigger your heartburn and avoid them as much as you can.
- Cut Back on Some Foods and Drinks. If you are fond of eating spicy foods then it may be high time to start cutting back on these foods, as they are known to make heartburn worse. In addition, you should also cut back on your caffeine intake. Caffeine is commonly found in drinks like cola, coffee and tea.
- Prop Your Head and Shoulders Up. When sleeping, you should consider propping your head up with a few pillows. You can also try to raise the head of your bed up. This way, gastric acids will not flow to your esophagus when you sleep at night, as the slope will prevent this from happening.
What Medications Can You Take?
When you are considering taking medications to relieve severe heartburn, you should consult your health care provider. There are medications that may harm your baby. Thus, it is always best to seek consult from your health care provider. These are the common medications prescribed to pregnant women experiencing heartburn.
- This type of medication can provide relief from indigestion and heartburn. This medication works through neutralizing the stomach acids, making it less acidic. When this happens, the stomach acids will no longer irritate the protective lining of the digestive system.
- There are some antacids that are taken in combination with alginate. This medication can relieve heartburn and indigestion that are caused by acid reflux. Alginate medications work through forming a barrier that floats on the surface of stomach contents.
Since most antacids are available over the counter without the need for a prescription, you should be careful. It is best to seek advice from your health care provider to determine which ones will suit you best. These medications are often taken before the symptoms are expected. For instance, your health care provider may prescribe that you take an antacid before meals or before you sleep at night. It is safe to take antacids and alginates when you are pregnant, provided that you do not take more than the prescribed dosage. Side effects of taking antacids are rate but they can occur. You should watch out for side effects like constipation or diarrhea. Another important reminder when taking antacids is that you should not take antacids and iron supplements at the same time. Antacids can prevent iron from being absorbed properly by your body. You should take the antacid two hours before or after drinking an iron supplement.