Heartburn is a common issue for most women during their pregnancy. Though heartburn has nothing to do with the heart but is just a burning sensation in the lower chest. Fortunately, there are easy, safe, and effective treatments for heartburn during pregnancy that will surely provide relief.
But, before knowing the tips to deal with heartburn during pregnancy, the gastrointestinal experts at Gut Care clinic explain why exactly pregnancy causes heartburn.
What causes heartburn during pregnancy?
Early in pregnancy, the body produces large amounts of the hormones progesterone and relaxin. These hormones tend to relax smooth muscles throughout the body including those in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. As a result, food sometimes moves more slowly through your system resulting in indigestion, bloating, gassy feeling, and heartburn.
In addition, the growing uterus during pregnancy crowds the stomach, forcing the stomach acid back into the esophagus.
How to treat heartburn during pregnancy?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can be a problem if heartburn is not treated, because the reflux of stomach acid damages the tissue lining the esophagus, causing inflammation and pain.
Here are several ways that help you treat heartburn during your pregnancy.
1. Eat small and frequent meals
Eating too much food at once can exacerbate heartburn. In fact, during pregnancy, there will be less space in your stomach to expand, and eating smaller amounts of food can stave off heartburn. Therefore, instead of eating three or four meals per day, aim to eat six meals per day as it is easier to digest smaller meals and thus prevent heartburn.
2. Eliminate trigger foods
Identify the foods that trigger your heartburn. While there are no banned foods, common heartburn-triggering foods include acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, greasy or fried foods, spicy foods, chocolate, coffee, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.
3. Have more fluids
Liquids are less likely to cause problems as compared to solid foods because liquids move quickly through the stomach. Chew your solid foods slowly and well. Do not drink large amounts of liquid in between your meals, because drinking while eating can make you swallow more air.
4. Sit or stand after a meal
Do not lie down on the bed immediately after having a meal. Take a leisurely walk. You can do a little housework or just sit down and read a book to relax. Also, do not do anything that requires you to bend over which can bring the acid back up into your esophagus.
5. Do not eat right before bed
Having a meal right before going to bed is one of the major causes of heartburn during pregnancy. Health experts recommend eating at least three hours before going to bed while pregnant. If you feel hungry after having your dinner, have some fluids.
6. Wear Loose Fitting clothes
Wearing tight clothing will put more pressure on your already crammed abdomen, and could possibly worsen acid reflux. Therefore, opt for loose-fitting maternity wear, especially if you’re trying to get rid of heartburn.
7. Consider an antacid
Over-the-counter antacids may quell your heartburn symptoms during pregnancy. Antacids containing calcium or magnesium are always safe to take during pregnancy. But avoid antacids that contain aluminum as they can cause constipation and be toxic at high doses.
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