Most of the pregnant women report mild to severe heartburn, particularly in the second and third trimesters. Also referred to as acid indigestion, heartburn is an irritation or burning sensation of the oesophagus.
[Read: Things to Know about Pregnancy]
It is caused by stomach contents that reflux from the stomach. The underlying reason for heartburn in pregnancy is the changing hormone levels, which influence the muscles of the digestive tract. The pregnancy hormones cause the lower oesophageal sphincter (the muscular valve between the stomach and oesophagus) to relax, allowing stomach acids to splash back up into the oesophagus to cause heartburn.
Ways to Soothe Heartburn in Pregnancy
- Eat small meals: Eating in excess or more than required can leave you reeling with discomfort and heartburn. Inappropriate eating pattern during pregnancy contributes to a lot of pregnancy complications. Therefore, eating just a little at a time is the way to go. You can practice portion-control; five to six small meals a day instead of three big meals.
- Chew your food: Taking it slow helps prevent heartburn and indigestion. Whenever you eat, relax and enjoy your meals.
- Drink liquids and water: You don’t need a big glass of milk with every meal to meet nutritional requirements of pregnancy, but sipping liquids is a must. A pregnant woman should just be sipping liquids during meals. Health experts advise fluid consumption by drinking beverages between for expectant mothers, rather than during meals.
- Stay active after a meal: A pregnant woman shouldn’t sit and relax after eating. Ideally, they should take a walk or do a little household chore. After a meal, an expecting mother should never lie down right away.
- Don't eat right before bed: Eating right before bed may contribute to heartburn, so you shouldn’t do the same. Experts advise on not to eat for at least three hours before you go to sleep. Besides food, a pregnant woman should also abstain from liquids starting a few hours before bedtime.
- Know your triggers: Some of the common triggers of heartburn include fat, caffeine, chocolate and citrus foods. Beside these, you should be aware of the heartburn triggers that have caused reflux in the past.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes: The loose-fitting maternity wear helps a great deal to prevent heartburn. If clothes are tight, you may be putting more pressure on your abdomen, and worsening acid reflux.
[Read: Ensuring Food Safety during Pregnancy]
- Right sleeping position: If you are having heartburn trouble for quite some time now, you should sleep with your head and shoulders propped up. This restricts the reflux of acid to the oesophagus besides helping you breathe better.
- Medications: Heartburn can also be soothed using over-the-counter medications. Consult your doctor for heartburn relieving medications.
In case heartburn persists, it is advised to see your doctor.
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