Pregnancy is a much-awaited part of a woman’s life. However, this moment may present with many discomforts like early morning sickness, loss of appetite, episodes of nausea and vomiting, and heartburn during pregnancy.
Heartburn in pregnancy is a common occurrence during gestation. It most often presents during the later trimester when the baby’s size pressures the mother’s abdominal organs, especially the stomach. Now keep in mind that you should never risk complicating pregnancy in any way, and that absolutely includes acid reflux.
Symptoms of Heartburn During Pregnancy
The symptoms of heartburn include:
- Chest pain
- Burning sensation in the chest
- Regurgitation or sour taste in the mouth
- Burning sensation in the throat
- Difficult time swallowing
- Chronic coughing
- Bringing up food
- Feeling full, heavy, or bloated
- Burping or belching
These symptoms usually appear soon after drinking or eating, but there can sometimes be a delay between eating and developing heartburn.
Causes of Heartburn During Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, you’re more likely to experience heartburn due to:
- The growing baby pressing on your stomach
- Large meals
- Fried, greasy and fatty foods
- Tomatoes and tomato sauces
- Garlic and onions (raw)
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, and grapefruit)
- Caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, and soda)
- Abdominal exercise
- Blood pressure and heart disease medication
- Hormonal changes
- Slowed digestion
Tips to Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy
Being relieved from the pain and discomfort that this condition causes to the mother will help promote comfort and alleviate stress to both the woman and the growing child. Here are a few tips that may be done to prevent heartburn in pregnancy:
#Avoid late-night snacks and meals before going to bed.
The stomach needs to be empty before retiring to bed as a full stomach may cause a backflow of the contents into the esophagus, causing heartburn during pregnancy.
#Avoid eating spicy foods
Eating spicy and hot foods, peppermint, chocolate, carbonated drinks, and citrus-containing juices can trigger heartburn. Try to get used to bland foods as these will not irritate your gastrointestinal system. You can also try drinking fresh ginger mixed with water during mealtime. Ginger water has worked great for me recently, and it actually tastes pretty good.
#Try Apple cider vinegar
Also, next time you are at the supermarket, be sure to pick up some apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar tastes great and will help reduce the symptoms of heartburn as soon as they start.
#Try baking soda
If you are really in a bind and don’t have any of the materials listed above, you can return to old faithful baking soda. Mixing baking soda with water has been working to fight heartburn for ages and still works great. Keep in mind that it doesn’t taste all that great but adding honey can help, and this is a great remedy for heartburn during pregnancy.
#Avoid tobacco and alcohol
Avoid using tobacco and alcohol while pregnant, as well as during breastfeeding. Alcohol can cross the placental barrier and can also affect the child. Remember that what you eat will also be taken in by your child passively.
Apart from the pregnancy-related dangers of alcohol and smoking, this may also lead to health hazards in the long run. Heartburn during pregnancy is not to be taken lightly. Even if you are not pregnant, smoking cigarettes has been proven to cause it more in smokers than in non-smokers, so if you needed one more reason to quit, then there you go.
#Wear comfortable clothing
Wear loose-fitting maternity wear dresses instead of tight-fitting garments. This promotes comfort and prevents unwanted pressure into your abdomen. Remember that the growing uterus already has enough pressure that causes heartburn, so do not attempt to add more pressure to your digestive organs.
#Don’t eat right before you go to bed
Before sleeping, make sure that you ambulate for about an hour or two to ensure your stomach has already emptied. A lying position makes it easier for stomach contents to flush backward, so make sure you elevate your head using pillows and ensure your head is higher than your entire trunk and feet.
This positions your body in such a way that gastric content will not backwash to the esophagus. Preventing content from “backwashing” will be extremely beneficial in avoiding heartburn during pregnancy, so keep those feet elevated!
Does heartburn relate to the heart in any way?
First thing’s first, heartburn does not correlate with the heart whatsoever. Though people do mistake its symptoms with heart diseases and heart attacks, there is no relation! Heartburn and your heart condition are two completely unrelated matters.
What is heartburn, then? It is actually a problem having to do with the digestive system! Specifically, it is caused when stomach acid comes into contact with your gullet (or esophagus), thus irritating it and causing mild pain (in some cases, severe). The lower esophageal sphincter (or LES) usually protects your esophagus from acids within the stomach. The LES is basically a valve at the top of your stomach, and when it doesn’t close, stomach acid is able to bypass it, which results in heartburn!
Heartburn is actually very common, and studies show that many women experience it during pregnancy! (You’re not the only one who hates it!) Similar conditions to heartburn include acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Heartburn is actually a symptom of the two related conditions, as you may have acid reflux but no heartburn. Acid reflux is essentially the same as heartburn, as it is the flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. Though, it is specifically the act of feeling a burning sensation in your chest. If acid reflux worsens, it can result in GERD, one of the symptoms being frequent heartburns. Try not to get too confused! Just remember:
- Heartburn = burning sensation in the chest
- Acid Reflux = weird acid taste in your mouth
- GERD = heartburn every day!
There! That makes things simple!
Heartburn in pregnancy should be managed easily by diet modification and lifestyle changes. Otherwise, if doing these prevention techniques will not relieve you from the discomforts of heartburn, seek medical help and have yourself checked.
The number one goal in an expecting mother’s life is to limit all possible complications, and hopefully, this article has helped you understand how to do that! Your OB-GYN might prescribe some drugs for you and ensure that these drugs are safe to be taken during pregnancy. Good luck!