Heartburn in Pregnancy Treatment

Many women suffer from heartburn in pregnancy. Treatment involves preventing acid reflux; heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. Acid reflux is a direct result of higher levels of progesterone present during pregnancy. Progesterone is a hormone which relax muscles; it also relaxes the sphincter-type muscle that usually prevents stomach acid from escaping up into the esophagus. That discomfort, or heartburn, is from the acid reflux.

Many women encounter this in their third trimester; some have problems earlier in pregnancy.

There is an old wives tale that if you have bad heartburn, your baby will have a lot of hair. Of course there is no proof in this but it is an entertaining thought.

There are several ways to help prevent acid reflux and get relief.

It’s All About You – Your Triggers

There may be foods that trigger heartburn for you that don’t bother other women, or things you can eat that others can’t . So find what triggers acid reflux and avoid it. Usually things like citrus, chocolate, tomato sauce,foods with a lot of fat, or caffeine are problematic.

Fried foods are also a big contributor to heartburn. Cutting out greasy, fried food is going to help with your heartburn prevention.

Slower and Smaller

Break up meals into several mini-meals to keep your stomach from getting too full, or having to work too hard digesting food and requiring more gastric acids. Take your time eating, and sip foods slowly.

Also, make sure you keep your fluids and solids separate. Too much fluid mixed with too much food can distend the stomach which can aggravate heartburn.

When to Eat

You also want to try eating early and eat at least two hours before you go to bed so your body has plenty of time to digest your food.

Elevate

You also want to eat sitting up. Don’t eat while lying down or reclining, and if you are having a bed time snack make sure you are propped up by pillows. Hah! That was a trick – don’t eat for two hours before bed.

Try sleeping slightly elevated too.

Weight Gain

Your weight plays a part in how much heartburn you may experience. The heavier you are, the more pressure you are placing on your esophageal sphincter. This is another reason why you should not gain too much more than the recommended amount.

Oral Remedies

Almonds are a stomach settler and might help with your heartburn. Another natural remedy is a tablespoon of honey mixed with milk. And some women swear that ginger helps – ginger ale or candies for example.

When all else fails, take an antacid for your heartburn. Tums or any antacid with calcium but not aluminum is perfectly safe to take during pregnancy. In fact, the calcium in Tums is beneficial. Avoid baking soda as well a aluminum.

If you need something stronger, Zantac and Tagamet, AKA H2 inhibitors, slow the production of stomach acids and are prescription-free alternatives that work well. Discuss with your caregiver before taking anything though.

Even stronger are medications like Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium, that also suppress stomach acids, and are also known as proton pump inhibitors.

Dress Comfortably

Seems obvious, but just wear clothes that aren’t tight and don’t restrict you.

So, if you suffer from heartburn in pregnancy, treatment has come a long way. Suffering from acid reflux can be avoided as long as you know what to look for, take the necessary steps, and eat properly. Even without suffering from a lot of heartburn, your baby still could be born with a full head of hair!

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