Unfortunately, heartburn and pregnancy often go hand in hand. It is estimated that over half of all women experience heartburn during pregnancy, and even though it’s generally harmless and has a fairly simple explanation, it can still be very uncomfortable.
During pregnancy, you have elevated levels of the hormone progesterone. This hormone is known to relax the valve that keeps your esophagus and stomach separated, and as a result, it is easier for stomach acid to creep up your esophagus. While some women begin to experience heartburn in early pregnancy, it most often occurs during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, when your growing uterus begins to crowd your stomach.
Heartburn Relief in Pregnancy
While you can certainly take steps to control your symptoms, you may not to be able to experience 100 percent heartburn relief in pregnancy, as your progesterone levels will remain high throughout the process. However, if you’re suffering regularly and are searching for a heartburn remedy, try these tips:
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day, and eat slowly.
- Do not wear tight or restrictive garments around your abdomen.
- Avoid eating less than three hours before bedtime, and elevate your upper body during sleep to help prevent stomach acid from seeping up while you’re horizontal.
- Do not take in large quantities of fluid while you are pregnant, as this stretches your stomach and may worsen the problem. However, be careful to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day; as with meals, consume smaller quantities regularly throughout the day.
- Chew gum after meals.
- Stay within recommended guidelines of pregnancy weight gain.
- Do not bend at the waist; instead, bend at the knees.
You may also be able to take over-the-counter antacids that have calcium or magnesium as their active ingredients. However, you should check with your prenatal caregiver beforehand to ensure this is safe and a good idea for you. If your heartburn is severe and you rely on antacids for heartburn relief, you need to be very careful. Some antacid brands contain a lot of aspirin, aluminum and sodium, all of which can have negative health effects for you and your unborn child.