How to Relieve Heartburn Symptoms during Pregnancy!
Pregnancy-Related Heartburn: Causes and Symptoms
Pregnancy can bring about a range of challenges, including the uncomfortable and distressing symptoms of heartburn. The burning sensation in the chest can detract from the joys of pregnancy and occupy your thoughts with discomfort.
The two primary factors contributing to heartburn during pregnancy are hormonal changes and increased pressure on the stomach caused by the growing uterus.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the muscles in the esophagus to relax, allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. This is especially likely when lying down after a large meal.
“Managing Pregnancy-Induced Heartburn”
As your pregnancy progresses, your uterus expands to make room for your growing baby. This increased size puts added pressure on your stomach, which can force food and stomach acid to move upwards into your esophagus, leading to heartburn.
While it’s common to experience heartburn during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, there are ways to alleviate the discomfort and maintain a healthy pregnancy without resorting to medication.
It’s important to note that taking medicines for heartburn during pregnancy is generally not recommended, as they can have adverse effects on the unborn baby. However, there are many simple measures you can take to manage this symptom, including dietary and lifestyle changes.
10 Effective Strategies for Relieving Heartburn during Pregnancy
1. Eat Smaller, But More Frequent Meals
During pregnancy, it’s essential to pay attention to your diet to ensure your baby stays healthy. However, overeating can worsen the symptoms of heartburn, and it’s not necessary to eat for two. Try to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, rather than larger meals.
Eating several small meals can help keep acid reflux at bay and even prevent morning sickness. Consuming three large meals per day can contribute to heartburn, so try to eat five or six smaller meals instead.
Take your time to finish each meal and chew your food thoroughly. Avoid eating a heavy meal 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, as heartburn symptoms can worsen when you lie down after eating. By following these tips, you can help manage your heartburn during pregnancy.
2. Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping on your left side is recommended by health experts, whether you’re pregnant or not. This position can decrease acid reflux by making it more difficult for acid to flow into the esophagus while you sleep.
For pregnant women, sleeping on the left side also prevents the liver from putting pressure on the uterus and promotes blood flow to the fetus. Additionally, it may help alleviate back pain and improve sleep quality.
A 2000 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that lying on the right side increases esophageal acid exposure compared to the left side.
If you’re experiencing heartburn during pregnancy, try sleeping on your left side to help reduce symptoms and promote better sleep.
3. Chew Gum to Help Prevent Heartburn during Pregnancy
Chewing gum after a meal can be a simple and effective way to prevent heartburn during pregnancy. By stimulating your salivary glands, chewing gum can help neutralize the acid that has backed up into your esophagus.
Studies have shown that chewing gum can reduce acidity in the esophagus. A 2001 study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics found that chewing gum after a meal reduced postprandial esophageal acid exposure. In addition, a 2005 study published in the Journal of Dental Research demonstrated that chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after a meal can decrease acidic postprandial esophageal reflux.
To prevent heartburn during pregnancy, keep some sugar-free gum handy and chew a piece for about 30 minutes after finishing your meal.
4. Elevate the Head of Your Bed
Raising the head of your bed can be an effective way to prevent heartburn while sleeping. This will prevent acid from flowing back up into the esophagus and also reduce swelling in your legs.
A 2006 analysis of controlled studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that elevating the head of the bed is an effective strategy to reduce acid reflux symptoms and heartburn at night.
To do this, try raising the head of your bed about 2 feet. You can use a wedge-shaped, foam rubber pad to elevate your upper body instead of using only pillows, as using pillows can put pressure on your stomach and worsen your symptoms.
5. Sipping Water
Sipping small amounts of water throughout the day is a simple and effective way to manage heartburn during pregnancy. Consistent intake of water helps move things through your gastrointestinal tract and keeps your system hydrated, reducing the risk of heartburn.
It’s important to avoid drinking too much water at once, as this can cause your stomach to fill up quickly and increase the risk of heartburn.
Instead, try to include more liquid-based foods in your diet, such as soups, smoothies, yogurt, milkshakes, protein shakes, and puddings, as they move through the stomach more quickly than solid food.
6. Try Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can be a natural remedy to control heartburn during pregnancy. Although it is acidic, it helps to balance acid production in the stomach and buffer acid activity.
In addition, consuming apple cider vinegar is beneficial for both your health and the growing baby in your womb.
To use it as a remedy, simply add 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Drink it 30 minutes before a meal and do this regularly to see the benefits.
7. Try Coconut Water
Coconut water is a natural acid neutralizer and may help relieve heartburn symptoms during pregnancy. It is easily available in the market and also prevents indigestion.
Additionally, this nutrient-rich isotonic drink is high in electrolytes, which can help prevent dehydration, a common problem during pregnancy.
Make sure to always have coconut water at home and drink it to enjoy its benefits.
8. Try Ginger Tea
Ginger is a natural remedy that can help control heartburn during pregnancy. It can also help combat nausea and vomiting, which often accompany heartburn.
The active components in ginger, such as volatile oils and phenol compounds, can influence the stomach and intestines, reducing heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
To make ginger tea, add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger to a cup of hot water, let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain it and enjoy it while it’s still warm. Remember to limit your ginger tea intake to no more than 2 cups a day. Another option to soothe heartburn is to try ginger candies.
9. Avoid Citrus Fruits
To prevent frequent heartburn, pregnant women should avoid consuming citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, even though they are high in vitamin C and often recommended during pregnancy.
Citrus fruits contain high levels of acid that can irritate the digestive tract, worsening heartburn symptoms, especially when consumed on an empty stomach. It is best to avoid these fruits, both in whole and juice form.
Instead, opt for less acidic fruits to meet your daily fruit requirements. Fruits with high alkaline content such as apples, pears, bananas, and melons are good alternatives.
10. Avoid Raw Onions
How to Relieve Heartburn Symptoms during PregnancyFor some pregnant women, raw onions can be a common trigger for heartburn. They can increase the acid content of the stomach and slow down the emptying of your stomach.
Moreover, the intake of raw onions can cause digestive acids to flow back up into your esophagus.
A 1990 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology reported a significant increase in heartburn in people suffering from acid reflux when eating a meal containing raw onions as compared to an identical meal that didn’t contain onions.
If eating raw onions worsens your heartburn symptoms, it’s best to avoid them. Garlic can also worsen reflux symptoms in some people and cause food aversions during pregnancy.
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