Heartburn during pregnancy is extremely uncomfortable and is often an unwanted and frequent guest during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to ease heartburn during pregnancy.
- Don’t overeat. Sure, they all say “you’re eating for two,” and with fatigue and cravings, you might be tempted to eat more than you should. Unfortunately, overeating isn’t a good idea because it can cause or exacerbate your acid reflux and heartburn.
- Don’t eat large meals. It’s best to break up your eating into smaller meals, eating more often if necessary, and not to eat within three hours of going to bed at night.
- Don’t eat spicy foods. Foods that are very spicy, oily, or rich can trigger your heartburn or make it worse. If you aren’t able to completely eliminate these, limit your intake.
- Don’t consume caffeine. This can also trigger heartburn or make it worse.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking is unhealthy both for you and for your baby but it also causes indigestion. Seek help if needed in order to stop smoking for good; secondhand smoke is dangerous for your new baby.
- Don’t drink alcohol. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can lead to your baby being diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, which includes physical defects and intellectual or cognitive disabilities. And if that isn’t enough incentive to avoid alcohol, having a couple of beers or indulging in other alcohol can also trigger your heartburn. Avoid alcohol at all costs; both you and your baby will be better for it.
- Chewing on sugarless gum, having a soothing drink of milk, and/or munching on almonds and papaya helps relieve heartburn for some women.
- Sitting up straight while you eat will take the pressure off your stomach.
- Wait an hour or more after eating to lie down.
- It’s also a good idea to prop your head and shoulders up when you go to bed to stop stomach acid coming up while you sleep. You can do this either using extra cushions or by elevating the head of your bed.
- Medications: OTC antacids and alginates can help to neutralize stomach acid and relieve indigestion caused by acid reflux. But it is very important that you talk to your doctor before self-prescribing. The reason for this is that some antacids contain high levels of sodium, which can cause fluid buildup in body tissues. Some also contain aluminum, which is not considered safe for pregnancy.
If these don’t help, your GP may prescribe medications such as H2 blockers or Proton Pump inhibitors for more significant symptoms. It’s also important to take your iron supplements (if you are taking them) at a different time than your antacids, because antacids can interfere with the body’s absorption of the iron.
You need to seek medical attention if you are having a hard time eating or keeping food down, or if you are losing weight or experiencing stomach pains.
Although heartburn is usually not a serious medical condition, it can seriously impact your quality of life, causing pain, discomfort, and even interfering with your sleep. Give these pregnancy heartburn remedies a try for some welcome relief.
Written by Gila Isaacson