Combat Heartburn in Pregnancy
Anyone can get heartburn at any time during their life but pregnant women are particularly susceptible. If you’re experiencing the horrible burning sensation and are keen to get rid of it, here are some practical ways of combating heartburn.
As the name suggests, heartburn is an uncomfortable burning sensation that occurs in your oesophagus or gullet. It’s a form of indigestion, where the acid juices from your stomach go back up your gullet, producing a burning feeling. About half of all pregnant women experience heartburn on and off during the day and night, and it’s often worse after eating or when you’re lying down.
Pregnancy can increase the likelihood of heartburn occurring because the pregnancy hormones have a relaxing effect on the valve at the entrance of your stomach. Because of this, the valve doesn’t close properly and the acid escapes back up. Heartburn can occur at any time from 20 weeks onward, but it’s more frequent in the late stages of pregnancy. In fact, it tends to get worse as pregnancy progresses, as your uterus gets bigger and puts more pressure on your stomach.
If you’re unsure as to whether what you’re experiencing is heartburn, or have any unexpected aches, pains and discomfort, then always speak to your midwife or doctor.
Tips for Combating HeartburnThere are practical steps you can take to relief the discomfort of heartburn.
- If heartburn is bad at night, avoid eating before you go to bed.
- At night, try propping yourself up on a couple of pillows.
- Avoid eating large meals. It may be better to eat frequently, say four to five little meals, rather than two to three large meals.
- If you get heartburn during the day, try sitting in an upright chair, leaning forward slightly, rather than lounging back on a sofa.
- When you’re bending over, particularly to pick things up, try bending your knees and crouching rather than suddenly leaning over.
- Avoid eating and drinking at the same time.
- Avoid eating fatty or spicy foods, as these can trigger off symptoms.
- Try and work out which foods might be triggering off your symptoms and avoid them.
- Coffee and tea can increase stomach acidity, so opt for herbal tea instead.
- Chewing gum can stimulate saliva, which helps neutralise stomach acid.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
- Consult your doctor and ask for a recommendation of an antacid that can be safely taken during pregnancy.