Heartburn and Indigestion during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, as most people know. However, to the expectant mother, it might not be so easy. There are so many symptoms and ailments that can bring a pregnant woman down. Heartburn and Indigestion are one of the worst.

Even though it’s called heartburn and indigestion, it has absolutely nothing to do with the heart. Most common in the third trimester, the uterus is growing large enough to push your esophagus up. This causes the acid in your stomach to make it’s way up the esophagus. Pregnancy hormones cause the stomach muscles to relax, thus, slowing down the digestion process. It’s called heartburn because of the burning pain felt behind the chest is mistaken for heart pain. One of the unpleasant side effects of this condition is a sour or bitter taste in the mouth.

As with causes of heartburn, there are an equal number of ways to avoid and treat it. What you eat or drink may have a huge affect on your stomach. Greasy and spicy foods, milk, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and certain medications should be avoided to reduce the reduce the risk of indigestion (upset stomach that relates to heartburn).

Tight clothes may also want to be avoided. They can constrict your abdomen and push acid further up. Try wearing clothes that are loose, but fit. Your stomach can have more room to digest.

Gravity plays a big part in heartburn. Lying down after a meal will make acid flow directly to the esophagus opening in the stomach. It may help to elevate the head of your bed or lie on your left side with a couple of pillows under your head and chest. Any position that will give gravity the advantage to push acid back into your stomach will do. Walking provides some relief and is wonderful exercise.

You can also take precaution in how you eat your meals. Avoid eating too quickly as it will put more food in the stomach at one time. Since a pregnant woman’s stomach takes a longer time to digest food, eating slower will give it just a little at a time. Another factor is eating too large of a meal. This also puts pressure on the stomach. Instead of eating three large meals a day, eating smaller meals throughout the day may be better.

Excessive weight gain can also trigger indigestion and heartburn. Remember to watch what you eat and try to only gain the necessary child-bearing weight.

If you already have a case of heartburn, there are some ways to treat it. Ask your doctor which antacids work best and are safe. Tums is a popular treatment for acid reflux and it gives relief. Constantly chewing gum is another way people treat heartburn. Saliva is a natural antacid and chewing on gum produces a lot of it.

Apples are also a great way to soothe the irritated esophagus.

When all else fails, see your doctor. You may have a major case of acid reflux disease. He will prescribe you something to take away the pain and upset stomach.

Heartburn isn’t pretty, and can be painful. Take this advice and avoid what you can while doing what you can to stop it, all while enjoying your pregnancy!