Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn can pop its ugly head up at anytime during pregnancy. It is more common later in pregnancy, but many women feel it in the first trimester as well. What causes it? What can be done to help relieve it?.
When a woman gets pregnant, her placenta starts producing more of the hormone progesterone than what she normally has in her body. The progesterone coats the lining of her uterus, helping the muscles in the uterus relax in order to carry the baby. It also however, relaxes the valve between the stomach and esophagus that is intended to keep food and stomach acids down in the stomach. When this spincter muscle is relaxed, it allows the acid from the stomach to travel back up the esophagus, causing heartburn. This can also be called acid reflux.
Later during pregnancy, as your baby gets bigger and he starts pushing more on your organs, his position is likely to make the heartburn even worse! There are several things you can do to help ease the reoccurrence and discomfort of heartburn.
- Try to stay away from foods that cause problems in the first place. These foods can include caffeine, chocolate, carbonated beverages like soda, citrus fruits such as oranges, and highly seasoned or fatty/fried foods.
- Try not to eat large meals only once or twice a day. Your body needs time to digest little amounts of food in order to help keep the heartburn from starting. Eat small amounts several times a day.
- Try not to eat and then go straight to bed. Take your last meal several hours before bedtime so that your food has time to digest while you are sitting up. This will lessen the chance of the acid travelling back up your esophagus when you lay down.
- Don’t wear tight clothing that presses down on your belly. Keep it comfortable and loose so that you don’t have the extra pressure on the baby which can put extra pressure on your stomach and contribute to heartburn.
- You should not be drinking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy anyway, but if you are, stop! Alcohol and smoking can cause heartburn on their own.
- There are over the counter antacids that you might be able to take, but be sure to ask your doctor or midwife before you take them, to make sure they are safe for you in your pregnancy.
Remember, every pregnancy is different. Some women may never experience heartburn; others may find that they have terrible heartburn caused by foods they are eating that are not in this list. If you are unable to find relief, be sure to check with your health care provider as they may have a suggestion for you that will relieve your heartburn once and for all.
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