No one knows heartburn better than a pregnant woman. During pregnancy, a woman feels discomfort and a burning sensation in the chest. The signs of heartburn begin from the second month of pregnancy.
Nearly all pregnant women have this question as to how to stop such a frustrating and uncomfortable feeling. You can even wonder whether or not the remedies are safe for the health of your baby. So, let us learn about the causes of heartburn during pregnancy along with the possible measures to cure it.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease that occurs in 25% to 75% of all pregnant ladies. It usually starts in the 1st or 2nd trimester of pregnancy. The impact lasts throughout the remaining duration of the pregnancy. Heartburn that occurs in pregnant women is usually intermittent and mild, however, it can also get severe in a few cases. Complications of this disease as esophageal bleeding, loss of weight, trouble swallowing are uncommon.
Causes of heartburn during pregnancy
Under normal cases of digestion, food travels from the esophagus into the stomach via a muscular valve known as the “lower esophageal sphincter”. When a person has heartburn, the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes. This causes the level of stomach acid to increase into the esophagus. This results in a painful and burning sensation in the chest region.
Pregnancy leads to changes in the hormone levels in the body that allows the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax. This also happens when you lie down or have consumed a big meal. Also, as the fetus develops during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters and the uterus widens to accommodate the grown-up baby. This causes significant pressure on the stomach that leads to pushing acid and food being back into the esophagus.
Pregnancy increases the chances of heartburn. During the 1st trimester, muscles in the esophagus start to thrust food slowly into the stomach. This results in the bowel taking longer to get empty. The good side is that it provides more time to your body to absorb nutrients from the food for the fetus, but it also leads to heartburn. During the 3rd trimester, the baby’s development pushes the stomach out of the normal position, which causes heartburn.
Lifestyle changes and remedies that stop heartburn during pregnancy
A healthy diet and positive changes in lifestyle can lower the chances of heartburn. It can be the safest cure for both the mother and her baby. The below tips may help you relieve the symptoms of heartburn to a great extent:
- Eat smaller portions of the meal more frequently. Avoid drinking any beverage while eating. Drinking water in between meals is permitted.
- Eat slowly. Take time to chew every single bite before swallowing it.
- Avoid eating right before going to bed.
- Lying in the left direction at night is seen to reduce acid reflux. If you sleep on your right side then the level of the stomach will be higher than the level of the esophagus. This can cause heartburn.
- Avoid beverages and foods that activate heartburn. Some of the foods that you need to avoid are chocolate, spicy foods, fatty foods, acidic foods such as tomato-based items, citrus fruits, caffeine, and carbonated beverages.
- Do not lie down for a minimum of an hour post-eating your meal. Health experts suggest taking a leisurely walk after a meal to encourage digestion.
- Wear comfortable clothes in place of tight-fitting ones.
- Maintain the right body weight.
- Sleeve in a head elevated position on the bed by keeping a six to eight-inch wedge-shaped foam-based rubber pad below your head while sleeping.
- Chewing sugar-free chewing gum after meals is often suggested. It increases saliva in the mouth that neutralizes the acid from coming up into the esophagus.
- Drinking milk or eating yogurt calms the symptoms of heartburn.
- Mix some drops of honey in a glass of milk or chamomile tea to alleviate the symptoms of heartburn.
- Alternative therapeutic options that you can consider are acupuncture, and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation. It is advised to consult with your medical practitioner before you try any of these new treatments.
- Occasionally, you may need to sleep in a reclined state at a 45-degree angle.
- After consuming your evening meal, it is advised not to drink any further liquids. The vacant your stomach at the night, the less likely you will feel reflux of acid.
- Smoking must be discontinued during pregnancy as it aggravates acid reflux.
Nearly 50 percent of expecting mothers pass through the terrible feeling of heartburn. These are some of the medically proven home remedies that must be tried to ease the symptoms of heartburn naturally.