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How Can I Avoid Heartburn During Pregnancy?

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

It is common for a woman to experience heartburn during pregnancy, and this symptom can progressively get worse before the baby is born. Luckily, there are a few steps that can be followed in order to reduce heartburn during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Even if you haven’t experienced heartburn in the past, it is not unusual for the symptoms to begin while you are pregnant. Symptoms include: a sour stomach, acid taste in your mouth, upset stomach, and a burning sensation in the throat and/or chest. Some women experience severe heartburn during pregnancy, and others only have mild symptoms which occur sporadically.

Why Heartburn Occurs

During pregnancy, heartburn can occur for several reasons:

  • Increased hormone levels, which relax the sphincter which connects the stomach and esophagus, allowing stomach contents to move up the esophagus.
  • A change in the stomach position as a result of the abdominal space being taken by the baby.
  • Sluggish digestion and slower digestive contractions to move food through the body.

How to Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy

Most women prefer to avoid medications as much as possible when they are pregnant, so natural heartburn treatments are more preferable than taking over the counter medication. You may not be able to completely eliminate the symptoms of heartburn, although it is possible to drastically reduce the discomfort that you are experiencing.

When your heartburn symptoms occur, take note of the types of food that may have caused the reaction. Keeping a food journal can help you to locate specific trigger foods to avoid. Typical foods that cause heartburn during pregnancy include: fruit juices, tomatoes, soda, caffeine, chocolate, vinegar, spicy foods, fried foods, and processed meats.

Instead of eating large meals, you can eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day in order to avoid over-filling your stomach. Try eating six times per day, and eat slowly to avoid filling the stomach too quickly.

It is also a good idea to eat your meals earlier in the day. Heartburn during pregnancy can occur when you lay down to sleep, especially if your stomach is full. Stop eating two hours before bedtime. If the symptoms continue to occur at night, use several pillows to prop up your upper body. Gravity will help to keep the stomach contents down.

Wear loose fitting clothing. When tight clothing is worn around the stomach, it may cause added pressure which can force the stomach contents up the esophagus. Find comfortable maternity clothes, and be sure that you are changing your wardrobe as your belly continues to grow.

Following these simple guidelines can help you to reduce the symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy. If you are still not finding relief, you may consider talking with your doctor to explore medications that are safe for the baby.

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