Heartburn During Pregnancy
“I have a five alarm fire in my chest!”
What percent of women get heartburn during pregnancy? More than 50% of all pregnant women report symptoms of severe heartburn during pregnancy, particularly during their second and third trimesters.
Although heartburn is not usually a sign of a serious problem, it can be uncomfortable or painful. Gastroesophageal reflux is often called “acid reflux” or “heartburn.”
Indigestion is also common during pregnancy and can occur with heartburn. Also known as “dyspepsia,” indigestion is just another name for an upset stomach. You’ll know you have indigestion if you feel very full, bloated or gassy (oh, the joys of pregnancy!)
Heartburn occurs when gastric acid from your stomach, is pushed up toward your esophagus (the pipe between your mouth and your stomach). This causes a burning sensation behind your breastbone or a burning sensation that starts in your stomach and seems to rise up. You may also have a sour taste in your mouth or a feeling that vomit is rising in your throat (we always say pregnancy is amazing, except when it’s not!)
Several things can cause pregnancy heartburn such as:
• Greasy or fatty foods
• Chocolate, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks
• Onions, garlic, or spicy foods
• Certain medications
• Eating a very large meal
• Eating too quickly
• Lying down after eating
During pregnancy, hormones relax the muscles in your digestive tract, including the valve in the esophagus. This allows stomach acids to more easily seep back up the esophagus, especially when you’re lying down. Heartburn is likely to worsen in the second and third trimesters, when your growing uterus presses on your stomach.
How To Avoid or Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy?
Try these tips to prevent pregnancy heartburn:
• Eat smaller meals.
• Avoid trigger foods such as spicy, greasy and fatty foods (bye-bye buffalo wings!). Also limit chocolate and caffeine.
• Avoid bending or lying down right after eating. Take a walk until your body has had a chance to digest.
• Don’t eat right before bedtime.
• Don’t gain too much weight (uh, thanks for that advice!). Stay within the guidelines your health care provider sets.
• Wear comfortable clothes. Tight clothing can increase the pressure on your stomach and abdomen.
• Prop your head up a few inches with pillows when lying down
What NOT to take while Pregnant
- H2 Blockers including
- Pepcid and Zantac
• Consult your healthcare provider prior to taking any medication while pregnant or nursing.
• Follow the directions on the package.
*No medication is considered 100% safe during pregnancy or nursing.
Check out our medicine safety chart for more information