Heartburn During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & Remedies

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Heartburns are a common symptom of pregnancy and if you are a woman suffering heartburn during your term, do not worry, you are not alone!

Heartburn Pregnancy and the kind of discomfort it comes with cannot be understood by anyone better than a pregnant woman. A very uncomfortable situation to be in, pregnant women typically suffer from multiple heartburns during all three trimesters of pregnancy and this guide here will answer every question you might have around pregnancy heartburn.

What is pregnancy heartburn?

A pregnant woman goes through some extreme bodily changes from within, be it fluctuating hormones or the body physically expanding to make room for the baby.

During the early days of pregnancy, a woman’s body produces large amounts of progesterone and relaxing hormones. The boosted level of these hormones tends to relax the smooth muscle tissues throughout a woman’s body, including those in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This, as a result, causes the food to move down slowly down the stomach, causing multiple digestion problems like bloating, gas, and the infamous pregnancy heartburn.

What does heartburn pregnancy feel like?

As the food breakdown slows down, your body releases stomach acids that irritate the sensitive esophageal lining which causes a burning sensation right around where the heart is located; hence the term heartburn.

Pregnancy Heartburn, to say the least, will feel uncomfortable. However, for some relief, it must be known that heartburn is actually good for your baby. It is so because the digestive slowdown enables better absorption of nutrients into your bloodstream and also, hence, through the placenta and into your baby.

Pregnancy Heartburn occurs when the ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach relaxes (like all the muscles in the GI tract), allowing food and harsh digestive juices to back up from the stomach to the esophagus.

At What Point In A Pregnancy Does A Heartburn Occur?

Heartburns in pregnancy, unfortunately, start during the very first trimester itself and lasts all through the nine months of the term.

Heartburn Pregnancy Remedies

Here are some ways that can help reduce pregnancy heartburns-

  • Chew on gum after meals

Chewing on gum post meals can help reduce heartburns as it increases saliva production, which neutralizes excess acid production in the esophagus. You will have to chew for at least 30 mins after every meal and since you’d be doing this quite a lot, it would not be a bad idea to pick a sugar-free gum instead.

  • Milk

Whenever you feel an onset of heartburn, you can instantly soothe yourself by gulping a glass of milk.

  • Munch on Almonds

Since almonds neutralize the juices in the stomach, munching on a couple of almonds post meals can help reduce the occurrence of heartburns

How To Treat Heartburn?

Tuma and Rolaids are the commonly used pills for heartburn relief and they also are typically pregnancy safe. Not only do they relieve the heartburn but also act as a source of calcium!

However, before you consider using any sort of medication, it is always recommended to

Consult your doctor for the right dosage.

How To Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy?

As ideal as it would be, the chances of you getting through your pregnancy are next to impossible. Besides, also because it is eventually beneficial for the baby, it would only make sense to accept that it will happen and to prepare yourself better for it. 

On that note, here are some preventive measures that can help soothe and get relief from pregnancy heartburn-

  • Identify and avoid trigger foods

A few days into your pregnancy, you will be able to identify food aversions just as you would be able to identify heartburn-triggering foods. Some foods typically associated with heartburn include spicy, citrusy fried, and fatty foods. Chocolates, caffeine, and carbonated beverages can also further be a cause.

 Keep some gap between eating food and drinking liquids

If you do not keep some gap between your solid meals and liquid intakes, the mix of solid and fluid can cause an aggravated stomach, resulting in heartburns.

  • Eat smaller yet more frequent meals

Instead of eating three big meals, try to instead eat mini-meals and a lot of healthy snacks between your meals to avoid not only heartburns but also bloating. It is also further recommended to take the last meal of your day at least two hours prior to bedtime to give your overworked stomach some time to digest the food and avoid heartburns.

  • Avoid a slouching back

Try and ensure that you keep your back and head straight up especially while eating, to avoid heartburns. Straightening up helps since lying down, slouching, and slumping while eating cause gastric juices to come back up from the stomach into the digestive tract. Even while sleeping, try to keep your head elevated than the body.

  • Don’t eat too fast
    Always remember 32 teeth and hence, 32 chews! Eating too fast might result in you swallowing too much air which will form gas bags in your belly, resulting in heartburns. Slow and stray chewing of food basically means your stomach has less breaking-down to do, resulting in lesser heartburns.
  • Wear loose clothing

Tight pieces of clothing, especially around the torso, can restrict breathing, construct a pregnant tummy, and cause added pressure on your body, increasing heartburns.

  • RELAX!

Above and over everything else, try and relax! Stress not only is harmful to the baby but is also futile because it will not reduce your heartburns. Indulging in relaxing exercises like prenatal yoga, meditation and acupuncture could also help.

To Conclude

As it must be obvious to you by now, heartburns in pregnancy are unavoidable and the sooner you get to terms with it the better it is. Also, in some cases, moms might not feel any heartburns in the first couple of months but brace yourself, mamma! Once the uterus takes over your abdominal cavity, it is going to force the stomach upward and heartburns are then guaranteed.

But again, trust us on this, this too shall pass!

Heartburn During Pregnancy FAQs

1. Is it true that women with more heartburns give birth to babies with a lot of hair ?

As funny and as superstitious it may sound, research actually supports the claim! the frequency of heartburns suffered by a mother during pregnancy is directly proportional to the amount of hair a baby would be born with. More the heartburns, more the hair!

2. Is it okay to use over-the-counter heartburn medicines during pregnancy ?

Though it is usually okay to use over the counter heartburn medicines during pregnancy, it is recommended to first reach out to your doctor and seek their advice. You might be advised to take pregnancy-safe medicines that control acid production, like proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2 blockers.

3. Do Bananas help with heartburn ?

Just like other foods mentioned earlier, like almonds and milk, bananas also help relieve heartburns being a low-acid fruit that coats the irritated esophageal lining to soothe it down. Bananas, besides, are also fiber-rich and are known to strengthen the digestive system and to free one of the regular digestive issues including indigestion and heartburns.

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