Coping With Heartburn During Pregnancy

Before I fell pregnant I’d never experienced heartburn but I soon found out how horrid it can be. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer for too long but for some mums to be, heartburn can be an everyday occurrence. During pregnancy, progesterone relaxes our muscles as well as the stomach valve that keeps the acid out of the oesophagus, so the burning sensation that we feel is the acid regurgitating. In addition, during pregnancy the acids get pushed upwards due to the enlarged uterus and growing abdomen.

Here are some ways to try and ease your heartburn:

  • Eat small meals. Eating too much in one sitting can contribute to heartburn so instead of eating three large meals each day, consider eating five or six smaller ones.
  • Eat slower. Wolfing down your food without even bothering to chew it will contribute to heart burn so take your time and enjoy your meal.  Remember, the more you chew it, the less work your stomach will have to do.
  • Don’t lie down after a meal. After you’ve eaten, stay upright by walking around for a little bit, or sitting down quietly. Lying down can cause the acid to wash back up your oesophagus.
  • Elevate your head and chest at night. To keep that acid down where it belongs, try sleeping on a wedge shaped pillow or even try putting blocks under your bed at one end so that you’ll be sleeping on an angle and preventing that acid from flowing back into your oesophagus.
  • Know your triggers. Every woman is different so you need to ensure you take note of what foods cause your heartburn, then avoid them. The most common food triggers are spicy foods, fatty foods, chocolate, fruit juice, fizzy drinks and coffee.
  • Wear loose clothing. Tight fitting clothing puts pressure on your abdomen which is already about to burst, so try releasing that pressure with loose clothes.
  • Consider an antacid. Speak to your pharmacist or GP about which antacid would be right for you to take during pregnancy. There are plenty of brands available and it’s a great way to also boost your calcium intake during pregnancy.

Although heartburn can be uncomfortable, thankfully it is harmless.  And you never know, as the old wives tale says, you might just be suffering because your unborn baby has plenty of hair.  Only time will tell.

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