Indigestion and Heartburn in Pregnancy | Prevent & Relieve Heartburn While Pregnant

Indigestion and Heartburn in Pregnancy | Prevent & Relieve Heartburn While Pregnant

Pregnancy Can Be a Heartburn Rollercoaster - But You Don't Have to Suffer

If you're an expecting mom, chances are you've experienced the all-too-familiar pain of heartburn and indigestion at some point. In fact, these gastrointestinal woes affect a staggering 53-80% of pregnant women! While these digestive issues can be incredibly uncomfortable and disruptive, the good news is there are steps you can take to find relief.

What's Causing Your Pregnancy Indigestion?
There are a few key reasons why indigestion and heartburn tend to flare up during pregnancy:

Hormonal Changes: As your levels of the pregnancy hormone progesterone rise, it can cause the muscles of your digestive tract to relax. This slows down digestion and allows stomach acid to flow back up into your esophagus, leading to that burning sensation.

Growing Uterus: As your baby grows, your expanding uterus puts increasing pressure on your stomach, essentially pushing the acid upwards. This is often most problematic during the later stages of pregnancy.

Slowed Digestion: Pregnancy hormones also tend to slow down the overall digestive process. This can result in gas, bloating, and constipation - all of which can contribute to indigestion.

Increased Appetite: Many pregnant women experience heightened hunger, which means more food entering the digestive system and potential for discomfort.

Taming the Flame: Tips to Prevent Indigestion & Heartburn
While you can't completely eliminate these gastrointestinal woes, there are some lifestyle tweaks that can help minimize their impact:

  • Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals: Instead of three large daily meals, opt for 5-6 smaller ones. This takes pressure off your stomach and aids digestion.

  • Steer Clear of Trigger Foods: Spicy, fried, and fatty foods, as well as citrus, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol can all exacerbate heartburn. Identify and avoid your personal triggers.

  • Stay Upright After Eating: Don't lie down for at least 2-3 hours after a meal to prevent acid from backing up.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Putting on the right amount of pregnancy weight, as advised by your doctor, can ease pressure on your digestive system.

  • Try Ginger or Mint: Sipping ginger tea or sucking on peppermint candies may help calm an upset stomach.

Find Fast Relief When Heartburn Strikes
If you do experience bouts of indigestion or heartburn, there are several remedies that can provide quick relief:

  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Antacids like Tums or Rolaids, as well as H2 blockers like Pepcid, can help neutralize stomach acid.

  • Home Remedies: Drinking a glass of milk, sucking on hard candies, or applying a warm compress to your abdomen may also bring some soothing comfort.

  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Wear loose, comfortable clothing and try relaxation techniques like deep breathing to ease tension.

Home remedies that can provide relief for heartburn during pregnancy:

Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals:

  • Eating large, heavy meals can worsen heartburn. Instead, try eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. This puts less pressure on the stomach and can help prevent acid reflux.

Avoid Trigger Foods:

  • Certain foods and drinks can relax the esophageal sphincter and trigger heartburn. Common culprits include spicy, fried, or acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages. Try to avoid these as much as possible.

Stay Upright After Eating:

  • Lying down too soon after a meal can cause stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Wait 2-3 hours after eating before lying down or going to bed.

Elevate the Head of Your Bed:

  • Raising the head of your bed 6 inches can help gravity keep stomach acid down while you sleep. You can do this by placing blocks under the bedposts or using a wedge pillow.

Try Ginger:

  • Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce stomach acid and soothe the esophagus. You can drink ginger tea or add fresh grated ginger to your meals.

Chew Gum:

  • Chewing gum can stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize stomach acid. Choose a non-mint flavored gum.

Stay Active:

  • Light exercise, like walking, can help move food through the digestive system more quickly and reduce pressure on the stomach.

If your symptoms are severe or persistent, don't hesitate to consult your doctor. They may be able to provide stronger medication or other treatment options to get your digestion back on track.

Pregnancy is a wild ride, but you don't have to white-knuckle it through the heartburn. By making a few simple tweaks to your diet and habits, you can calm the flames and enjoy a smoother, more comfortable nine months.