16 Ways to Get Relief From Pregnancy HeartburnKatlyn Joy | 7, May 2012
One of the most common, and troublesome symptoms of pregnancy is heartburn. Sounds like no big deal, but often pregnant women have heartburn that is off the charts compared to what they experience pre-baby growing.
Some women particularly late in pregnancy find it all but impossible to fully recline and never within a few hours of a meal. Others may wake up belching so loudly they frighten the dog.
Worst of all, pregnant women are also quite reluctant to take any medications, even over the counter ones while expecting.
What is Heartburn
Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach is pushed back up into the esophagus. It may result in a burning pain, sour stomach, a bad taste in your mouth and nausea.
Blame progesterone; the hormone makes muscles relax including the one at the top of the stomach which allows the stomach contents to back up.
Also, the ever-expanding uterus crowds the stomach increasing heartburn as the pregnancy progresses at least until lightening occurs and the baby engages into birth canal.
Simple Lifestyle Choices to Improve it
1. Eat smaller and frequent meals. Overeating will crowd the stomach more and increase your discomfort. Going too long between meals will increase stomach acidity as well.
2. Avoid heavy, greasy fat-filled meals. These are hard to digest and will come back to haunt you.
3. Avoid spicy foods. Where the line is between too spicy and OK will depend on you and only by trial and error can you be sure.
4. Avoid lying down for at least two hours after a meal. This position allows food to easily travel backwards.
5. Don't bend over right after a meal, or you'll be likely to taste it once more.
6. Keep away from any caffeinated drinks or foods as they are likely to increase the condition.
7. Try to avoid drinking during your meal, or drink as little as possible. Eat before or after your meal instead. The fluid will cause your stomach to be overloaded.
8. Wear clothes that give in the waist rather than restrict it. Don't put off wearing maternity clothes just because you can squeeze into your old jeans. A tight fit will cause indigestion.
9. Keep your pregnancy weight to a healthy level. Being overweight is a cause in itself for indigestion.
10. Raise the head of your bed several inches. This will help keep your stomach contents where they belong.
11. Though it should go without saying, avoid alcohol and tobacco. Both will increase heartburn but those are the least problematic side effects of these no-no substances.
12. Other to-avoid substances include peppermint, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, chocolate, citrus fruits and anything with carbonation. All these foods and drinks have been linked to indigestion.
13. Prop your head up whenever you are reclining, even if you think it's been long enough since you ate, just to be safe.
14. Don't eat too quickly. When you do, you swallow more air which will form gas in your tummy.
15. Try chewing sugarless gum which has been shown to increase saliva and thereby reduce stomach acid.
16. While not exactly medication, having a small glass of milk or a bit of yogurt can ease the symptoms of heartburn.
Talk to your doctor about safe brands of antacids. They are not all the same! Some contain sodium bicarbonate which can be dangerous for pregnant women. These antacids can lead to fluid build up as they contain high amounts of sodium.
You may require a prescription brand of medication for persistent heartburn. Talk to your doctor if you cannot get relief with the remedies your doctor recommends or if they only work for a short period of time.
If you have trouble swallowing, are frequently awakened by your heartburn, or seem to constantly have the discomfort of heartburn you need to seek medical help.
If you throw up dark red or brown vomit or have coffee-looking bowel movements or diarrhea you may be having stomach bleeding and need to seek immediate medical attention.
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