Heartburn affects a lot of women during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester of pregnancy.
The reason for heartburn during pregnancy is increased levels of progesterone. Progesterone relaxes muscle, including the stomach valve that keeps the stomach acid out of the esophagus.
Another cause of heartburn during pregnancy is the growing baby putting pressure on the stomach, pushing the acid from the stomach upwards and of course with the stomach valve relaxed it just goes up into the esophagus.
If you have suffered from heartburn during pregnancy you know how horrible it can be so this article is going to share with you some things you can do to avoid heartburn during pregnancy, some natural remedies for heartburn during pregnancy and if all that does not work some medication you can take to try and get rid of your heartburn during pregnancy.
Ways to avoid heartburn during pregnancy
Prevention is always better than cure, so here are some measures you can take to try and prevent getting heartburn during pregnancy.
While they may not work entirely to prevent heartburn you can be assured the symptoms would be much worse if you didn’t do these things.
Eat Smaller Portions
Instead of eating 3 larger meals a day eat much smaller meals more often. This gives your system a chance to digest the food without overloading your stomach.
It also means you are eating more often and have less of a chance to get hungry. If you are hungry you will also be prone to heartburn during pregnancy.
Keep snacks on hand if you are out so you can eat regularly.
Eating slowly not only aids digestion but it gives your stomach a chance to let you know when you are full. This will help you to eat smaller portions which will also help prevent heartburn during pregnancy.
Instead of drinking large amounts of liquids, sip constantly throughout the day and in between meals. Avoid drinking any liquids with a meal.
Sit or Stand after eating
Make sure you sit or stand for a few hours after eating. Avoid bending over and lying down as this will cause the stomach acid to come up your throat,
Don’t eat just before sleeping
Wait a few hours after eating before you lie down or sleep. This will give you a chance to digest your food before lying down.
Sleep elevated at night
Being in the lying down position encourages the stomach acid to come up your esophagus. Prop yourself up on pillows so your head and chest are elevated while you sleep.
Avoid heartburn trigger foods
Certain foods trigger heartburn, so try and avoid these. While there are certain foods that are often triggers for a lot of people, they may not be for others.
Pay attention to what you are eating and if you get heartburn try and eliminate those foods that caused it.
Foods that commonly trigger heartburn are caffeine, fizzy drinks, chocolate, citrus, spicy foods, fatty foods, fatty red meat, french fries, omega 3 (fish oils), raw onion, oil, fried foods, butter and tomatoes.
Wear lose fitting clothing
Avoid any clothing that can put pressure on your stomach or chest areas, this will just make any heartburn symptoms worse. So think stretchy, it will be much more comfortable for you anyway!
Natural Remedies for Heartburn During Pregnancy
Although there are some steps you can take to lessen your chances of getting heartburn during pregnancy the fact is that many women will still suffer from it. When you do here are some natural remedies you can try before you resort to medication.
Yogurt or Milk for heartburn
Eating yogurt or drinking some milk can relieve heartburn. While cow’s milk often gives immediate relief, it can over time worsen the heartburn.
Alternatives you can try are nut milk, rice milk or goat milk.
You can also have warm milk and add some honey. This can soothe your burning chest.
Bentonite Clay for Heartburn
You can take bentonite clay before eating meals can coat the stomach and bring down acid levels. Bentonite clay is found in tablets, capsules and powder form.
It is alkalizing and absorbs the stomach acid, easing heartburn symptoms.
Marshmallows for Heartburn
Sounds crazy right? Well apparently marshmallows coat the lining of the stomach and esophagus, protecting them from the stomach acid.
Slippery Elm Bark
Slippery elm bark is available in capsule, powder and lozenge form. It builds up the mucous lining of the stomach and protects it from the stomach acid.
Try chewing gum for heartburn during pregnancy, it works!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Low stomach acid creates heartburn, so drinking acid cider vinegar can increase the acids can result in relief.
Papaya, pineapple, avocados and bananas
These all contain naturally-ocurring enzymes which help break down food.
Apparently eating a dozen green olives a day can help prevent heartburn and ease it if it does occur.
Coconut water has lots of potassium and electrolytes that help to keep the body hydrated. Sipping coconut water throughout the day and drinking a glass before bed can help to acid reflux away.
Roasted or raw almonds will do, just eat some every day to keep the heartburn away.
Ginger in any form is great for heartburn, whether powdered, pickled or fresh. You can even try ginger biscuits or ginger ale.
Bicarb of Soda
Bicarbonate of soda quickly neutralizes stomach acid, relieving heart burn.
Drinking Aloe Vera Juice
The healing property of aloe vera soothes the entire esophagus track and provides relief from heartburn.
Some recent studies show that seeing a chiropractor can help with heartburn. Certain chiropractic adjustments shift the esophageal valve into a better working position. This relaxes the muscle, helping prevent acids from making their way back up.
Aromatherapy for heartburn
Add four drops of lemon, orange blossom or orange essentials oils to a teaspoon of grapeseed based oil. Massage this into your upper back and chest, or pour it into your hot bath so you inhale the vapor.
Medication for Treatment of Heartburn During Pregnancy
While it is great to try all the natural remedies perhaps your heartburn is incredibly severe and none of the natural remedies work.
Please note that while all these suggestions listed below state online that they are safe to use during pregnancy, always check with your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy.
These are popular over the counter medications such as Gaviscon, Tums and Maalox.
These medications reduce the production of stomach acid and are used to treat indigestion, acid reflux and ulcers in the digestive system.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton-pump inhibitors are the most effective drug therapy for symptom control and healing of oesophagitis. Omeprazole was approved by the FDA in 1989. Currently, it is the best studied proton pump inhibitor for use during pregnancy.
Have you struggled with heartburn during pregnancy? What worked for you?
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Also published on Medium.