Heartburn During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes & Help

Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn is a common condition experienced by many people, especially during pregnancy. Heartburn during pregnancy can be a frustrating and uncomfortable symptom. However, there are ways to manage it and prevent it from getting worse. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and ways to manage heartburn during pregnancy.

Explanation of Heartburn

Heartburn is a sensation of burning pain in the chest or throat. It occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

Prevalence of Heartburn in Pregnancy

Heartburn is a common symptom during pregnancy. According to studies, up to 80% of pregnant women experience heartburn at some point during their pregnancy.

Symptoms of Heartburn during Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy can manifest in several ways. Here are some common symptoms:

1. Burning Sensation

A burning sensation in the chest or throat is the most common symptom of heartburn during pregnancy. It can feel like a hot, burning, or painful sensation.

2. Chest Pain

Heartburn can also cause chest pain, which can be mistaken for a heart attack. The pain can be sharp or dull and may spread to the neck, arms, and back.

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3. Regurgitation

Regurgitation is a symptom of heartburn during pregnancy where stomach acid flows back into the mouth. It can cause a sour or bitter taste in the mouth.

4. Nausea and Vomiting

Heartburn can also cause nausea and vomiting, especially after eating.

Causes of Heartburn during Pregnancy

Several factors can cause heartburn during pregnancy. Here are some common causes:

A. Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, the body produces more hormones, including progesterone. Progesterone relaxes the muscles in the body, including the muscles that keep stomach acid in the stomach. This relaxation can cause stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

B. Physical Changes in Pregnancy

The physical changes that occur during pregnancy can also cause heartburn. As the uterus expands, it puts pressure on the stomach, forcing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.

C. Pressure on the Stomach

The growing fetus during pregnancy can put pressure on the stomach, leading to heartburn.

D. Diet and Lifestyle Factors

Certain foods and drinks, such as spicy and fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can trigger heartburn during pregnancy. Additionally, eating large meals, lying down immediately after eating, and wearing tight-fitting clothes can also contribute to heartburn.

Tips to Manage Heartburn during Pregnancy

There are several ways to manage heartburn during pregnancy. Here are some tips:

1. Eating Small, Frequent Meals

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy. This is because smaller meals put less pressure on the stomach, reducing the risk of stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus.

2. Avoiding Trigger Foods

Avoiding trigger foods and drinks, such as spicy and fatty foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy.

3. Staying Upright after Eating

Staying upright after eating can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy. This is because lying down can increase pressure on the stomach, leading to stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus.

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4. Wearing Loose Clothing

Wearing loose-fitting clothing can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy. Tight-fitting clothing can put pressure on the stomach, leading to stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus.

5. Using Pillows to Elevate Head

Using pillows to elevate the head while sleeping can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy. This is because elevating the head can prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

6. Trying Natural Remedies

Natural remedies, such as ginger, chamomile tea, and apple cider vinegar, can help relieve heartburn during pregnancy. However, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider before trying any natural remedies.

Medical Treatment for Heartburn during Pregnancy

If lifestyle changes and natural remedies do not provide relief, medical treatment may be necessary. Here are some medical treatments for heartburn during pregnancy:

A. Antacids

Antacids are medications that neutralize stomach acid. They can provide quick relief for heartburn during pregnancy.

B. H2 Blockers

H2 blockers are medications that reduce the production of stomach acid. They can provide long-term relief for heartburn during pregnancy.

C. Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are medications that block the production of stomach acid. They can provide long-term relief for heartburn during pregnancy.

When to Seek Medical Attention

In some cases, heartburn during pregnancy can be a sign of a more serious condition. Here are some instances when medical attention should be sought:

1. Severe Symptoms

If heartburn during pregnancy is severe, it is important to seek medical attention. Severe symptoms include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting blood.

2. Complications

Heartburn during pregnancy can lead to complications, such as esophagitis or bleeding. If complications occur, medical attention should be sought.

You should avoid:

  1. Coffee
  2. carbonated beverages
  3. Sweets, especially chocolate
  4. sugar
  5. spicy and greasy food
  6. eat too fast
  7. big portion
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This is good for you now:

  1. still water and unsweetened teas
  2. milk
  3. Oatmeal (chewing 1 tablespoon of dry oatmeal thoroughly binds the acid and relieves the pain)
  4. Natural yogurt
  5. bananas
  6. Almonds (Caution: other nuts increase heartburn!)
  7. potatoes
  8. eat slowly
  9. small portions
  10. Do not eat anything two hours before bedtime
  11. sleeping with your upper body elevatede.g. with a second pillow

If these tips against heartburn during pregnancy do not help you, it is best to contact your doctor. As with all medications, you should first consult a doctor before taking any preparation during pregnancy.

FAQs

Can heartburn during pregnancy harm the baby?

No, heartburn during pregnancy does not harm the baby. However, it can be uncomfortable for the mother.

Is it safe to take antacids during pregnancy?

Yes, antacids are safe to take during pregnancy. However, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider before taking any medications.

Can heartburn be a sign of a more serious condition during pregnancy?

In some cases, heartburn during pregnancy can be a sign of a more serious condition. It is important to seek medical attention if heartburn is severe or if complications, such as esophagitis or bleeding, occur.

How long does heartburn during pregnancy last?

Heartburn during pregnancy can last throughout the pregnancy. However, it often improves after delivery.

Can heartburn during pregnancy be prevented?

Heartburn during pregnancy can be prevented by avoiding trigger foods and drinks, eating smaller, more frequent meals, staying upright after eating, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and using pillows to elevate the head while sleeping.

Conclusion

Heartburn during pregnancy is a common symptom that can be managed through lifestyle changes and natural remedies. If these methods do not provide relief, medical treatment may be necessary. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider before trying any new remedies or medications.

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