Pregnancy, as joyful as it is, comes with its own set of not so nice symptoms. It’s common for women to experience nausea, back pain, sore legs, and interrupted sleep.
Acidity or heartburn is another really common pregnancy side effect that you may experience. Heartburn during pregnancy is so common that up to 50% of women are likely to experience it at some point in their pregnancies.
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Depending on how bad your symptoms are, you might not be able to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy completely but you can definitely ease the pain.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn actually has nothing to do with your heart.
The burning pain, associated with heartburn, results when stomach acid rises up into your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach).
You may hear it referred to by its medical name, “gastroesophageal reflux.” “Gastro” means stomach. “Esophageal” refers to your esophagus/food pipe.
The most common remedy for heartburn are antacids that neutralize the stomach acid and ease the pain in your esophagus.
What causes heartburn during pregnancy?
There is a muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, located between your stomach and esophagus. This muscle relaxes when you eat or drink something so that the food/drink gets to your stomach.
However, if the muscle relaxes and does not stay closed, then the result is heartburn .
The main reasons for heartburn during pregnancy are:
1. Pregnancy hormones cause your muscles to relax. One of the muscle this affects is the lower esophageal sphincter.
As the muscle relaxes more in pregnancy, more stomach acid gets into the esophagus and causes heartburn.
2. Your growing uterus pushing and displaces other organs in your abdomen, including the stomach and its contents. This can push stomach acid back up to the esophagus.
3. Pregnancy hormones slow your digestion meaning there is more chance of heartburn, especially after a large meal.
7 Ways to get rid of heartburn During Pregnancy
1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Most pregnant women get accustomed to doing this anyway, especially as the pregnancy continues and the baby crowds your abdominal organs.
Eating smaller meals will allow your body to digest your food easier and should result in less heartburn. Make sure to chew each mouthful slowly and don’t gulp down your food.
2. Do not eat/drink before you lie down
Lying down can exacerbate heartburn symptoms. You want to use gravity to your advantage to help keep things in your stomach, where they should be.
Try not eat for about two hours before you plan to go to sleep. Walking before bedtime/after dinner can help prevent heartburn and ease digestion- if you have ever visiting a Mediterranean country you know that taking an after dinner stroll is the norm, for exactly this reason!
3. Change your sleeping habits
Put that beautiful rocker/recliner in the nursery to good use and start sleeping on it now! This is another way to fight gravity and ease heartburn symptoms.
A second option is to elevate the head of your bed. You can do this by putting six-inch blocks under the head of your bed.
Alternatively, you can buy a foam bed wedge that you place under your head down to your waist, and sleep on that. That will keep you propped up.
4. Try sleeping on your left side
Doctors normally recommend that you sleep on the left side during pregnancy as that allows optimal blood flow to the uterus.
It can also help to prevent acid build up and reflux as lying on your right side can cause the stomach to be higher than your heart.
5. Wear comfortable maternity clothing
You want to avoid anything tight around your waist that might cause increased pressure and chance for reflux.
6. Avoid certain foods and drinks
Spicy foods and carbonated beverages are known to play a role in heartburn. Caffeine, citrus, and pickled foods can also aggravate it.
Foods that may ease heartburn include milk, yogurt and camomile tea.
Essential Oils For Heartburn
If you are a fan of essential oils, you won’t be surprised to hear that there are some essential oils that can get of heartburn during pregnancy.
Before using essential oils during pregnancy, please check with your doctor in case they are not recommended for you.
Essential Oils For Heartburn in Pregnancy include:
Natural ways to ease heartburn during pregnancy
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is a great natural way to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy. Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 8oz of water and drink throughout the day. This will also help you stay hydrated which is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy.
Along with peppermint oil, natural peppermint candy or tea can really help to ease your heartburn symptoms.
What about traditional medications for heartburn?
If you try the tips above and you are still not getting full relief, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Most antacids contain magnesium which is not recommended in pregnancy as it can cause contractions, especially dangerous in third trimester.
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