Heartburn is a common complaint of pregnancy. 22% of women experience heartburn during the first trimester. This number rises to 39% in the second trimester. By the end of the pregnancy, 72% of women have experienced some degree of heartburn and indigestion.
What causes heartburn?
They seem to get the blame for everything, but it’s hormones that cause heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy. Progesterone slows down digestion and relaxes the muscle valve between the oesophagus and stomach. This means stomach acid can leak into the oesophagus and cause heartburn.
Later in the pregnancy, the growing uterus puts pressure on your stomach. This can force stomach acid into the oesophagus and cause heartburn and indigestion.
Symptoms of heartburn and indigestion
You may suffer heartburn and indigestion at any point during the pregnancy, although it is most common during the final trimester. You may find that the symptoms are most noticeable straight after eating. You may experience the following symptoms:
- wind / gas
- pain after eating
- bitter or sour taste in your mouth
How can I avoid it?
The symptoms will disappear without treatment after the birth. To ease the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy, you can try the following remedies:
- eat smaller meals more often
- sit up straight when eating – this can help to keep the stomach acid where it should be
- avoid lying down straight after eating – let gravity do its job
- avoid eating too close to bedtime
- drink a glass of milk before bed
- eat fresh apple after every meal
- drink fruit teas
- avoid sugary foods
- avoid fatty foods
- avoid junk foods
- eat slowly – putting down your fork between mouthfuls can help to slow down your eating, and this can help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion
- take small sips rather than big gulps of fluids
- drink fluids with meals
- avoid smoking
If you find that the symptoms of heartburn are keeping you awake, you could try sleeping propped up. The symptoms of this condition are worsened by lying down, so use extra pillows to keep yourself upright.
If the symptoms persist and are causing you a great amount of discomfort, you should speak to your healthcare provider. They should be able to advise you on medications that are safe to take during pregnancy which may ease the condition.
Some medications, such as antidepressants and anti-inflammatory drugs, may aggravate heartburn. You should speak to your healthcare provider if you think medications may be contributing to your heartburn or indigestion.
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Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.