What is heartburn during pregnancy? What are the causes, symptoms and treatment options? Here is a guide on all you need to know about heart burn during pregnancy that will help put you at ease.
Heartburn or acid reflux is commonly experienced during pregnancy. It is called so because though it doesn’t concern the heart, it brings about a burning sensation in the middle of the chest.
Heartburn During Pregnancy
There are several causes of heartburn during pregnancy. They are:
When the valve between the oesophagus and stomach can no longer prevent stomach acid from entering the oesophagus, it results in heartburn or acid reflux. This happens to pregnant woman because in this state, progesterone, the hormone, makes the valve relax, thereby increasing the chances and frequency of heartburn. This makes stomach acid enter the oesophagus and cause the lining some irritation.
Acid reflux or heartburn in pregnancy is also due to a stomach problem called hiatal hernia, which can occur in men and women of any age. This condition arises when the upper part of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and the stomach move the diaphragm.
Acid reflux foods
By eating large meals, pregnant women can suffer from heartburn or any other acidity symptoms, such as a dry cough or trouble with swallowing. Drinking coffee also causes acid reflux. Other such foods include coffee, lemon, onions, alcohol, tomatoes, chocolate, garlic and carbonated beverages.
Read More: Acid Reflux During Pregnancy: Ultimate Guide
When pregnant women smoke, it causes acid reflux by endangering muscle reflexes in the throat, damaging mucus membranes, increasing acid secretion and reducing salivation, among other things.
Pregnant women will find themselves prone to indigestion and heartburn during their third trimester when the developing uterus lays a lot of pressure on the stomach and intestines. This pressure on the stomach pushes back the food in the stomach back up the track to the oesophagus.
Read More: 15 Things You Shouldn’t Do During Pregnancy
Symptoms of indigestion and heartburn
These are the symptoms of heartburn among pregnant women:
- Burning sensation in the chest, or pain
- A bloated feeling
- Feeling sick
- Burping or belching
- Bringing up food
Often, symptoms become visible after a meal or a drink, but there could be a delay between indigestion and eating. Symptoms of heartburn can arise at any point of your pregnancy, though they are more common from week 27 onwards.
Treating heartburn is best done by preventing it from occurring and recurring. Here are some sure shot ways of preventing it:
- Eat five or six small meals instead of three large ones
- Sit up for an hour after a meal, then lie down
- Avoid eating oily, spicy and fatty foods
- While eating, drink as little as possible as otherwise you increase the risk of acid reflux.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes as tight-fitting ones can put undue pressure on the abdomen and stomach
- Take care not to be constipated
What to eat to avoid heartburn
You may not be able to take any medication during your pregnancy to avoid the ill-effects of heartburn, but you can certainly eat or drink some of the following foods to stave it:
Being a type of nut, almonds have a rich content of oils which help to normalize the stomach’s acid levels and get rid of heartburn.
Just like almonds, coconut water too acts as a natural acid neutralizer. It helps soothe an irritated oesophagus that helps bring heartburn relief. By drinking coconut water regularly to control the burning sensation associated with heartburn.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps stimulate the stomach and pancreas so that it releases bicarbonates. These bicarbonates are extremely helpful in neutralizing the acid produced in the stomach, besides also soothing it. Apple cider vinegar can be used by adding one teaspoon of it to a glass of water. Mix the two and drink the solution. This is a sure shot solution to heartburn every time a pregnant woman suffers from it.
A natural antacid, ginger is extremely effective in eliminating heartburn. Pregnant women can take a piece of ginger and chew it or add it to their cooking. Another option is to make a cup of ginger tea and drink it hot or warm.
Since pregnant women cannot take medication for big and small problems they encounter, it’s good to know that there are foods that can help them get rid of heartburn quickly and effectively.