Heartburn During Pregnancy

December 30, 2009

Heartburn pain When pregnant imageHeartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, and sour stomach result from acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus.

Causes of Heartburn During Pregnancy

  • Hormones- During pregnancy your body releases hormones which relax the muscles in your body. This can cause the muscles that close of the upper stomach to relax, releasing gastric acid from your stomach into your esophagus, causing irritation.
  • Eating acidic or greasy foods- Spicy, highly seasoned, fried food, fatty foods, tomatoes, citrus fruits, vinegar, and mustard can contribute to acid stomach.
  • Baby- Your growing baby puts pressure on your stomach, giving you less room. This can literally squeeze the contents of your stomach out
  • Morning Sickness- morning sickness, nausea and vomiting can also create heartburn.

Preventing Heartburn During Pregnancy

  • Eat small, frequent meals- Eat little meals every few hours instead of big meals. This will keep you from over-filling your stomach.
  • Chew Your Food Well- Chewing stimulates your salivary glands and helps digest your food better, faster and more completely. Saliva can act as a natural antacid. Even chewing gum after a meal can be helpful.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages, tea, coffee, and sodas. Also chocolate, acidic foods like citrus, vinegar and tomatoes, processed meat and spicy foods. If you are going to consume acidic foods try adding a pinch of baking soda.
  • Don’t lie down immediately after you eat.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes.
  • Walk around after you eat- walking and movement stimulate your digestive process.
  • Sleep with your head propped up slightly Try placing 4-5 inch blocks or bricks under the foot of the head of your bed. This will incline your bed slightly and help keep the contents of your stomach inside your stomach.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Treatment for Heartburn During Pregnancy

  • Slippery elm tea or herb can be helpful in easing stomach acid.
  • Use techniques such as those in the Pregnancy Pain Relief book to help loosen abdominal tension and take pressure off of your stomach.
  • Follow prevention guidelines above.
  • Talk to your doctor about using antacids. Antacids can prevent the absorption of certain nutrients (like tums) and may slow down the digestive process. Ask your doctor which antacid is safe to use.

When You Should Call Your Doctor

  • Your pain is intense and interfering with daily activities.
  • You have rhythmic pain with cramping.


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