When pregnant, women get heartburn because the placenta manufactures high levels of progesterone. This causes a relaxing of the muscles, including the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. This allows gastric acids to creep back up the esophagus and that is when we experience the awful burning pain sensation. This very annoying condition has been known to start early on in pregnancy but is most commonly endured in the second half of your 40 weeks.
Here are 12 effective ways to find relief and avoid pregnancy heartburn.
1. Eat slowly
When you gulp down your food quickly you miss the window of time when you feel full. A full tummy is not a good idea if you are trying to avoid pregnancy heartburn.
So take your time. Savor every bite.
2. Wear loose clothing
Tight clothing can push your baby right up against your stomach, forcing acid back up your esophagus. It’s best to wear your clothes as loose as you can if you are already suffering from heartburn.
3. Drink water
Lots of water will help to neutralize the acid in your stomach.
During meals it is best to just take small sips. This way you leave enough room for your meal. Once your meal is digested, you can drink a full glass of water.
4. Don’t bend over
It’s a good idea not to bend over if you tend to get pregnancy heartburn. I know this may sound like a bit of a tall order but trust me, bending over will aggravate the problem and you will be sorry once the heartburn starts.
Try bending your knees if you’re reaching down low for something. Any expert in ergonomics will tell you this is the best way to go anyway.
5. Try natural remedies
There are many natural remedies which are beneficial, as they neutralize the acid in the stomach and they pose no risk to your baby. These include:
- Coconut water
- Fennel tea
- Acid cider vinegar
- Chewable papaya enzymes
- Slippery elm bark
It’s worth trying out some of these–perhaps one or two of them will give you relief.
6. Use a bed wedge
This is a specially designed pillow which raises your upper abdomen while in bed, preventing acid from rising up and annoying you.
A cheaper alternative to a bed wedge is to get two blocks and put them under the legs of the bed on either side so you are lying slightly propped up.
7. Avoid triggers
After suffering from heartburn for a while you will get to know which foods act as triggers for you. Not everyone reacts to the same foods, but fried and spicy food are notorious for causing heartburn.
The best thing you can do is to stay away from these foods until the baby is born.
Ultimately it’s up to you. You can eat what you wish, but be prepared to pay the price for eating the wrong foods.
8. Stay upright after eating
You may be tempted to go and have a lie down after you eat but that’s not such a good idea. Give your digestive system time to work before you lie down or you could well find yourself with that burning sensation again. And once it starts it can be so hard to get rid of it.
9. Eat small meals often
Eating smaller meals often–that is, five or six small meals a day instead of three or four large meals–means that your stomach is never packed with food. This will cut down on the likelihood of getting caught with heartburn.
It’s a simple fix for anyone who is really suffering; the key is to be organized and plan your meals ahead.
10. Try antacids
If the preventative measures and the natural remedies have done nothing to alleviate your pain, you could always try an over-the-counter antacid. There is no risk to your little one, so you don’t have to worry in any way.
11. H2 blockers
These are that bit stronger than antacids and they may hit the spot for you and banish that pesky heartburn for good.
While they are safe to take in pregnancy, make sure you check with a pharmacist before you chosoe one of these just to be on the safe side.
12. Protein pump inhibitors
Protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most effective method for preventing and soothing heartburn or acid reflux. You will have to be careful though. Talk to your doctor and make sure you get a prescription for a PPI that is safe to take during pregnancy.
I know these work, as I take them myself for very bad acid reflux. You will get fantastic relief and you can give them up once the baby is born.
Pregnancy should be a time of great joy and anticipation. Sure, you will have swollen ankles to deal with and you might have trouble sleeping, but suffering every day with heartburn is unnecessary when there are so many different remedies available to you.
Don’t suffer in silence. Take action with the tips here and you will be smiling again in no time.