Help For Heartburn During Pregnancy
Do you need help for heartburn during pregnancy? Heartburn, that burning sensation on the chest (often accompanied by nausea, bloating, belching, and sour taste), normally occurs during pregnancy. This feeling that your heart is on fire is actually due to hormonal changes, particularly the increase in progesterone levels which causes the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) to relax.
The LES is a valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. It relaxes to accommodate the foods being consumed and then contracts to keep them in the stomach and undergo the normal process of digestion. But many factors can cause the LES to open or relax unnecessarily, among them:
- Spicy foods.
- Caffeinated beverages.
- Too much pressure on the stomach as when you overeat and during pregnancy.
- Increase in progesterone levels as what happens during pregnancy.
When the LES relaxes, it opens ups, allowing some stomach contents, including stomach acids, to backflow to the esophageal walls, and as the acids touch the walls of the esophagus they cause some degree of irritation, the reason for the burning sensation.
Taking an antacid every time it happens can be very tempting as antacids do bring instant relief. But taking any medications during pregnancy should be avoided as much as possible, especially during the 1st trimester. So what will a pregnant woman do when she experiences heartburn? Here’s some help for heartburn during pregnancy:
- Take small sips of water at the first symptom of heartburn. Doing so will bring the acids down to the stomach. Water will also alkalinize the acids so they become less potent.
- Also at the first symptom of heartburn, bend your knees to keep the LES from relaxing further and causing more spillage of the stomach acids.
- Have a tablespoon or two of organic honey to relieve heartburn.
- Eat smaller meals, but make it more frequent. This will enable you to digest your food more effectively. At the same time, it will also reduce the pressure in your stomach, too much of which will force your LES to relax.
- Eat slowly and chew your food completely. This encourages the production of more saliva which helps alkalinize the acid.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn attacks. Tomato and tomato-based products, spicy foods, citrus foods, vinegar, and mint, are not good options for you at the moment.
Heartburn can really make you feel uncomfortable all throughout your pregnancy. And so getting the needed help for heartburn during pregnancy will enable you to focus on more important matters, such as your general well being and the health of your baby.