Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy


Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy

Heartburn is another symptom of this slowdown in digestion. Heartburn develops when the contents of your stomach flow backward into your esophagus. The stomach acids irritate the esophagus, creating the burning sensation that gives heartburn its name.

Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy

More than half of all pregnant women get heartburn, and for many it’s their first experience with it. Heartburn, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), actually has nothing to do with your heart. It’s caused by the backward flow of stomach contents passing up into the esophagus.When this happens, stomach acids irritate the lining of the esophagus. The resulting burning sensation at about the level of the heart gives the condition its misleading name.

Heartburn is more common during pregnancy because pregnancy hormones cause your digestive system to slow down. This gives nutrients more time to be absorbed into your bloodstream and to reach the fetus, but it also takes longer for your stomach to empty. The result is often indigestion and heartburn. In addition, during the later months of pregnancy, your growing uterus continually pushes on your stomach, moving it higher and compressing it. This pressure can force stomach acids upward, causing heartburn.

Because your intestinal muscles are more relaxed, you may also become constipated, a condition that is aggravated by the pressure of the growing uterus on your rectum.

Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy

What is it and what causes heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy?

Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy

Indigestion, pain or discomfort in the chest and upper tummy, and heartburn, a burning pain in the stomach, chest and throat, are extremely common during pregnancy. Hormones cause the digestive system to relax, which leads to excess acid in the stomach; and, later on, the growing womb puts pressure on the stomach.

What can I do about Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy?

Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy are unpleasant, but you can take steps to prevent it or treat it:

  • Eat more-frequent but smaller meals, and eating slowly. For example, have five or six small meals a day rather
    than three large meals.
  • You should also avoid drinking fluids with your meals; instead, have them between meals.
  • Some foods are more likely to irritate your stomach and esophagus than are others. Determine which foods give you heartburn, and avoid them. Stay away from fatty, greasy or fried foods, coffee and tea, chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, carbonated beverages, very sweet foods, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and red peppers, and highly spiced foods.
  • If you find that tomato-based sauces, such as marinara, give you heartburn, try going with pesto.
  • Avoid taking iron supplements at night. They tend to cause heartburn.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

    Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
    Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
  • Sit with good posture when eating. Slouching can put extra pressure on your stomach.
  • Milk and other dairy products help coat the throat and stomach and might soothe irritation. Some women say drinking a glass of cold milk helps.
  • Wait an hour or longer after eating before you lie down.
  • Avoid eating for two to three hours before you go to bed. An empty stomach produces less acid.
  • Avoid movements and positions that seem to aggravate the problem. When picking things up, bend at the knees, not the waist.
  • When resting or sleeping, prop yourself up on pillows to elevate your head and shoulders, or raise the head of your bed four to six inches, try sleeping in a well proppedup position, using pillows.

    Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
    Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
  • Try a suitable over-the-counter antacid remedy such as Gaviscon, which gets the thumbs up from many of the Modern Girls. ‘I was virtually mainlining it by the end,’ admits Rebecca, and both Amanda and Lara confess to ‘swigging it directly from the bottle’.
  • Antacids, such as Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, and Maalox, can help, but make sure to check with your doctor before taking them.

Could heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy be serious?

No, just horribly uncomfortable. And, just to de-bunk a daft pregnancy myth, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have a hairy baby!

When to seek medical help

Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy

If heartburn becomes a significant problem, see your care provider. Don’t take any antacid or acid blocker without consulting your care provider first. Antacids can be high in salt and can increase fluid buildup in body tissues during pregnancy. You also want to avoid heartburn medications that contain aspirin, such as Alka-Seltzer.


Condition: Heartburn
Generally safe : Antacids (Maalox, Tums)
Use with caution: Ranitidine (Zantac)
Avoid:  Cimetidine (Tagamet)


The healthiest way to get your greens

Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
Heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy

Cabbage not in your top-ten list of vegetables? Try this fabulous salad and you’ll become a fan. Savoy cabbage helps with constipation, which you may be suffering from, as your digestive system slows down while your pregnancy progresses The mint balances the acid in your stomach, relieving heartburn, and the almonds help calm your nerves (if, by chance, you’re nervous about something). And kelp is pretty much a wonder food. It’s high in calcium, iron, and protein -all things a very pregnant lady like yourself needs lots of.



Makes 4 servings


3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon kelp flakes
3 tablespoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil

2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded savoy cabbage
1 cup shredded napa cabbage
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup almonds, toasted (see note) and chopped

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and kelp flakes. Gradually whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Use now, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

In a medium bowl, mix the shredded cabbages together.

Add dressing to taste and toss well. Finally, add the green onions, cilantro, mint, and almonds and toss again. Dressed, the salad will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Alternatively, toss together all the salad ingredients and leave undressed until serving; the undressed salad with keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week

Note: To toast almonds, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Optional Video :Natural Heartburn Prevention During Pregnancy

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