Many women develop heartburn during pregnancy, even if they had never experienced it before. It’s harmless but can be painful. Heartburn is actually a burning sensation that often extends from your lower throat to the bottom of your breastbone. This happens when acid from your stomach is brought up into your gullet. The heartburn leaves a sour and bitter taste because it comes up into your throat or mouth.
It’s very hard for women during pregnancy and can be caused by both hormonal and physical changes in their body. There is an increase in the hormone progesterone when you’re pregnant. This hormone relaxes the smooth muscles of your uterus. That’s why experts believe this hormone relaxes the valve that separates your gullet from your stomach.
Causing a burning sensation, this allows gastric acids to seep back up your gullet. Progesterone slows down the wave-like contractions of your stomach as well. Later in your pregnancy, the growing baby pushes your intestines and stomach upwards. This can force acids up from your stomach into your gullet because it slows digestion.
When will it stop?
Heartburn is very common when you’re carrying a baby. Many women start getting heartburn and indigestion in the second half of pregnancy but it’s not unheard of before then.
Rising to two-thirds by the third trimester. About a third of pregnant moms experience heartburn as early as the first trimester. Once your baby is born, the symptoms will disappear with no ill effects.
The good news is that you can take some action to get rid of your heartburn. You can avoid heartburn if you can figure out which activities make heartburn worse for you.
You can’t eliminate heartburn entirely, but some of the following suggestions may give you some relief:
– Chose drinks and food that are easier to digest. That means skipping spicy dishes, chocolate, citrus fruits or juices, alcohol and coffee.
– Always drink fluids after and before eating.
– Drinking milk can help to settle heartburn. Sometimes whole milk makes your heartburn worse. If that’s your case as well, try to switch to skimmed.
– Eat small meals regularly. As food neutralizes stomach acid, it leaves less time for acid to build up in your stomach.
– Try to stop smoking. Smoking relaxes the valve between your stomach and gullet which help making acid reflux more likely to happen.
– During a meal, sit up straight and try not to bend over or slump. Try not to lie down for at least an hour after eating and wear loose clothes around your stomach.
– Sometimes the heartburn is worse at night. In cases like this, try not to eat or drink anything but water for the three hours before you go to bed.
Sleep in a propped-up position and use several pillows. Raise the head of your bed with some cushions or rolled up towels. Gravity will help keep your stomach acids where they should be and aid your digestion.