Heartburn, and indigestion are incredibly common side effects of pregnancy. It can start in the first trimester and can continue throughout the pregnancy. It’s not usually harmful but can be very uncomfortable. It can seem like you’ll try anything to get relief. Here’s how to cope with pregnancy heartburn.
Pregnancy heartburn occurs because the hormones that help prepare your body for birth can also affect the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. These hormones relax the muscles, which can mean that your digestive system moves slower, resulting in bloating, indigestion, gas, and heartburn.
Heartburn is caused when the stomach acids get into the oesophagus. It creates a burning sensation around where your heart is, but it actually has nothing to do with your heart.
While all this is very uncomfortable for you, it’s really beneficial for your developing baby. A slower digestion means that your body is getting as many nutrients as possible from your food, which helps your baby grow.
These home remedies can help ease the symptoms of heartburn and are suitable to try during pregnancy.
- Milk and honey – A glass of warm milk with a tablespoon of honey can help soothe heartburn.
- Yoghurt – Yoghurt has plenty of goodness, and it can help ease the burning sensation.
- Ginger – Ginger is known for helping to ease nausea, but it can also help ease heartburn.
- Sugar-free gum – A study found that if you chew sugar free gum for 30 minutes after eating, it can reduce the feelings of heartburn.
Sometimes, the heartburn can be severe, and home remedies may offer no relief. In this case, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist. They can recommend an over-the-counter heartburn remedy that would be safe for use in pregnancy, or they may want to prescribe something else for you.
Prevention can sometimes be better than a cure. These tips can help you avoid heartburn completely.
- Pay attention to what you’re eating and avoid foods you know will cause heartburn. Spicy, acidic, rich, fatty and fried foods are much more likely to cause trouble so try to avoid them as much as possible. Healthier foods are less likely to cause heartburn and will be better for your baby.
- Eat small meals, eat more often, and chew well. Large, infrequent meals can be more difficult on your tummy, but smaller meals, eaten more often can be much more helpful. You can also try to slow down how you eat. Chew your food well and eat slower.
- Drink liquids between meals, and not with meals. When you do drink, take small sips and not big gulps.
- Avoid eating anything close to bedtime. Try not to eat anything in the three hours before bed. It can make you feel unsettled and can cause heartburn.
- Don’t lie down after eating. Some women find that they need a little after-meal nap during pregnancy but try to avoid lying down completely. Instead try to nap in a slightly upright position.
- If you can, try to sleep at night slightly propped up in bed. It can help prevent any sort of acid reflux.
- Tight fitting clothes can also make heartburn feel worse. Instead, try to find clothes that are supportive, but loose and not restrictive.