Heartburn During Pregnancy: Causes And How To Treat

Pregnant Woman

Hey mama! If you’re pregnant, we all know what that means... you may really be feeling the burn! And it’s not from that tough workout or from sitting under the sun for too long… It’s a much more unfriendly kind of burn that you feel from pregnancy heartburn. 

You commonly hear people talking about the struggle of having heartburn, but no one feels this as much as pregnant women do. Unfortunately, heartburn is a common discomfort that pregnant women feel during the first, second, and third trimester of their pregnancy. 

Here’s some information about heartburn and what you can do about it!

What is Heartburn?

Heartburn is also known as gastroesophageal reflux and acid indigestion. It feels like a burning sensation that starts from your breastbone and goes up to your esophagus -- it can even make it up to your throat. Not only do you feel this fiery bun, but you may also feel bloated, have a sour taste in your mouth, have a sore throat, and cough often.  

What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy?

You may be used to heartburn being caused by that spicy meal you had for dinner. However this isn’t necessarily the case during pregnancy -- although spicy foods definitely won’t help. 

A pregnancy hormone called progesterone is one the main reasons why you feel heartburn. This hormone helps to relax your muscle tissues, which results in food moving more slowly through your digestive system. The acids in your stomach irritate your esophageal lining which causes a burning sensation around the area where your heart is. 

Rest assured, although you may be feeling some pain and discomfort, your baby is not being harmed -- in fact, your baby is actually benefiting from this! Since it takes longer for you to digest the food you eat, there is more time for your bloodstream to absorb all the nutrients and pass it to your baby. 

Additionally, as your uterus is expanding to make room for your growing baby, there is available space. As your growing uterus puts pressure on your stomach, it is more likely to spill out stomach acids, which again causes irritation and a burning sensation. 

How Do You Get Rid Of Heartburn?

Here are several ways to control and treat heartburn during pregnancy. Try some out and see what works best for you!

Chew Sugar-free Gum

Chewing on sugarless gum for 30 minutes after your meals will secrete more saliva, which can balance out the excess acids in your stomach and esophagus. 

Watch What You Eat

As expected, spicy, acidic, and fatty foods will increase your chances of feeling heartburn. Acidic foods include citrus, tomatoes, onions, garlic, caffeine, sodas. Try to cut down on the spice you put in your foods as well. 

Watch When You Eat

It may also help to monitor how many times a day you eat. Eating small meals more frequently throughout your day is much better than eating three large meals. This will prevent your stomach from feeling overwhelmed and unable to empty itself as quickly. 

If you find yourself feeling heartburn at night, it’s also a good idea to avoid eating a few hours before you head into bed. This will give your body time to digest the food you eat and avoid feeling heartburn. 

Sit Up Straight 

Make sure you are sitting up straight when eating your food, and also for a little while after you’re done eating. Avoid slouching and lying down as it may negatively impact your gastric juices. Even sleeping elevated will be beneficial as gravity will do its job and help your food stay where it’s meant to be. 

Don’t Smoke

Along with many reasons why you shouldn’t be smoking during your pregnancy, heartburn is one of them. The harmful chemicals that live in cigarettes cause the valve in your stomach contents to relax. This allows the acid and undigested foods to come up and cause that unwanted fiery sensation. 

Key Takeaway

Unfortunately, heartburn is something you are most likely going to face during pregnancy as it is a known pregnancy symptom. However, if you take action to avoid certain things and change some of your habits, you may be able to lower your chance of getting heartburn! 

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