Heartburn or acid reflux is another one of the pregnancy symptoms that may be experienced during the first trimester and beyond. Digestive processes are slowed during pregnancy, therefore stomach acids gets pushed into your esophagus, causing an uncomfortable and sometimes quite painful burning sensation. Pregnancy heartburn gets worse before it gets better and increases in the third trimester when your uterus is putting pressure on your stomach.
Heartburn is a common condition that affects many people, but it can be especially problematic for pregnant women. During pregnancy, the body undergoes many changes including increased hormone levels, and these changes can lead to heartburn.
Acid Reflux/Heartburn Causes
There are several factors that can contribute to heartburn or acid reflux, including:
During pregnancy, the body produces more of the pregnancy hormones, progesterone, which relaxes the muscles in the body, including the muscles that control the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES relaxes, stomach acid can flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. As hormone levels change so can heartburn increase or decline due to hormonal changes.
Pressure on the Stomach
As the baby grows and develops, the uterus expands and can put pressure on the stomach, forcing acidic fluids back up into the esophagus.
Relaxation of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)
As mentioned earlier, the LES can relax due to the increase in progesterone during pregnancy. In addition to this, the pressure on the stomach can also cause the LES to relax, leading to heartburn.
Symptoms of Heartburn
The heartburn symptoms during pregnancy can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms of acid reflux include:
Burning in the Chest
A burning sensation in the chest, also known as heartburn symptoms, is the most common symptom of heartburn.
Sour Taste in the Mouth
Some women may experience a sour or bitter taste in their mouth, which is caused by refluxing back up into the esophagus.
Regurgitation of Acidic Fluids
In some cases, women may regurgitate acidic fluids into their mouth, which can be unpleasant and uncomfortable.
Treatments for Heartburn
There are several treatment options available for heartburn relief, including:
Making some simple lifestyle changes can often help alleviate heartburn or acid reflux. Some of these changes include eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding foods and drinks that trigger heartburn such as fatty foods, and avoiding lying down for at least an hour after eating.
There are several over-the-counter medications that can help alleviate heartburn during pregnancy, including antacids and acid reducers.
In some cases, a doctor may prescribe a medication to help alleviate heartburn, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2 blockers.
Heartburn is a common condition that can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. However, there are several treatment options available that can help alleviate symptoms.
10 Ways to Get Pregnancy Heartburn Relief
Heartburn can be uncomfortable and even painful, but there are several ways to find prevent heartburn and get relief. Although hormone levels can’t be controlled, there are still other ways to make you more comfortable. Here are 10 ways to get relief from heartburn:
Eat Small Meals
Eating small meals more frequently can help reduce the amount of stomach acid produced, which can provide relief.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain foods and drinks can trigger heartburn, including spicy foods, acidic foods and drinks, and caffeine. Avoiding these trigger foods can help reduce symptoms.
Stay Upright After Eating
Lying down after eating can increase the likelihood of heartburn. Instead, stay upright for at least an hour after eating to help digestion and prevent heartburn.
Elevate Your Upper Body
By Elevating your upper body while sleeping can help prevent fluids from flowing back up into the esophagus, which can alleviate heartburn. Use a pregnancy pillow to elevate your upper body while sleeping.
Wear Loose Clothing
Tight-fitting clothing can put pressure on the stomach, which can aggravate heartburn. Wear loose-fitting clothing to reduce pressure on the stomach.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated can help reduce the likelihood of heartburn. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help digestion.
Antacids can provide quick relief from heartburn by neutralizing acidic fluids. Talk to your doctor before using antacids, as some may not be safe during pregnancy.
Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the esophagus, which can alleviate heartburn during pregnancy. Try drinking ginger tea or taking ginger supplements.
Stress and anxiety can aggravate heartburn. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation, to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Talk to Your Doctor
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing severe or persistent heartburn.
Heartburn in Pregnancy: FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about heartburn during pregnancy:
1. What causes heartburn during pregnancy?
Heartburn in pregnancy is caused by a combination of factors, including hormones, pressure on the stomach, and relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
2. Is heartburn during pregnancy normal?
Yes, heartburn when pregnant is a common condition that affects many pregnant women.
3. When does heartburn begin in pregnancy?
Heartburn during pregnancy can start as early as the first trimester, but it is more common in the second and third trimesters.
4. How can I prevent heartburn when pregnant?
You can help prevent heartburn when pregnant by eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding trigger foods and drinks, staying upright after eating, and wearing loose-fitting clothing.
5. Can I take antacids during pregnancy?
Some antacids are safe to take during pregnancy, but it is important to talk to your doctor before using any medication.