Tips For Relieving Heartburn During Pregnancy
Ya'll I think some of you mamas can agree that when it comes to pregnancy discomforts, heartburn may be a close second right behind morning sickness. As it's uncomfortable and at times causes us to lose sleep. And the damnedest thing with heartburn, is that approximately half of us pregnant women will experience it sometime throughout our pregnancy.
Although, for the good news, there are several preventative measures along with helpful remedies that will help you kick that heartburn to the curb. And better news, most of these remedies are natural and easy to implement.
Heartburn is known as a burning sensation or discomfort in the upper/mid chest and possibly in the neck and throat. It also tends to worsen after eating or when lying down.
Heartburn exists when the valve between the esophagus and stomach is not capable of keeping stomach acid from coming back up into the esophagus. When pregnant, the hormone known as progesterone causes the valve to relax, allowing stomach acid to journey back up into the esophagus, aggravating the lining and causing the burning sensation.
Heartburn is also more common during the third trimester due to the developing uterus putting additional pressure on the stomach and intestines. This pressure can then push the stomach acids back up into the esophagus, increasing the chances of heartburn.
Tips For Relieving Heartburn During Pregnancy
1.Eat Smaller Meals
Instead of eating three large meals throughout the day, instead eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. If you are no longer overly stuffing your stomach it will help in minimizing your heartburn.
2. Take It Slow When Eating
Also, take it slow when eating. Slowing down and enjoying your meals will help in relieving heartburn and indigestion, Chewing is the first step in the digestion process, so the more your food is chewed up, the less work your stomach will have to do.
I also recommend eating your last big meal at least two hours before bedtime so digestion can begin before you lie down for bed. Yes, a little snack before bed is fine, as long as it is easy to digest.
3. Eat and Drink Separately
Large amounts of fluids mixed with large amounts of food, can distend the tummy, provoking heartburn. Drinking can cause you to swallow more air. So instead of drinking large amounts of fluids with your meal, try to drink a large portion of your fluids in between meals. If thirsty during a meal, take small sips between bites of grub.
4. Stay Upright
After eating a meal talk a relaxing walk, do some housework, read a book, take a bath, or anything that does not involve lying down. Try to stay upright for at least 2-3 hours after eating a meal. And when you need to bend over, bend with your knees and not at your waist.
Sleeping propped up with several pillows will also help with heartburn. Or I know several mamas who slept in a recliner for the last couple months of pregnancy.
A wedge pillow is also a great option when it comes to sleeping somewhat elevated. The wedge pillows main purpose is to elevate the head and the shoulders, making it the ideal tool in helping prevent stomach acid backing up into the esophagus.
When you elevate your upper body, it helps aid in digestion and keeps your stomach acids where they belong. Keeping the heartburn at bay.
5. Sleep On Your Left Side
If you aren't already, start sleeping on your left side, as gravity works in your favor when it comes to heartburn. Your stomach is positioned below your esophagus, when sleeping on the left side, making it harder for stomach acid to escape.
Sleeping on your left side is also great for baby, as it boosts the amount of nutrients and blood that reaches your placenta and baby.
A pregnancy pillow is great for keeping you in the side position. It is also great for providing support for your back, belly, and knees, and keeping you much more comfortable throughout the night.
6. Avoid Certain Foods
I know every mama is not the same, and some foods that bother several moms may not bother others. Although, pay attention to the way your body reacts after you eat certain foods, and steer away from those that aggravate you.
The most common culprits of heartburn include tomatoes, acidic foods like citrus foods and juices, chocolate, processed meats, carbonated drinks, caffeine, spicy foods, fatty foods, and fried foods.
When you chew gum, it triggers your salivary glands. Resulting in increased saliva production, which helps to neutralize excess acid. Go ahead mama and find yourself some sugar free gum to chew on after you eat.
Some unsweetened yogurt or a cold glass of milk can be a considerable way to relieve heartburn, as they aid in balancing out the acid in the esophagus.
Or you may be one of those moms that finds relief from a warm glass of milk mixed with a tablespoon of honey.
9. Avoid Tight Clothing
Wear loose clothing, as constriction on your abdomen from tight clothing, can add some pressure resulting in heartburn.
Several women have found that ginger: such as ginger ale, gingersnaps, ginger tea, or ginger candies, are all great options for easing an upset tummy (nausea and vomiting) and heartburn.
11. Try Coconut Water
Try drinking unsweetened coconut water (8.5 fluid oz/pack of 24 for $27) as it can help relieve heartburn. Coconut water consists of natural enzymes and beneficial electrolytes, such as potassium. Which in turn, can aid in balancing out the pH level in the body, relieving heartburn.
Papayas contain enzymes known as papain that aid in improving digestion and relieving heart burn. They are also high in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, and amino acids. Papayas are also known to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which in turn reduces reflux.
You can also try papaya enzymes which are great for easing digestion. I have personally never tried them, but the reviews speak for themselves.
An over-the-counter antacid such as Tums, can help in easing heartburn discomfort tremendously. Antacids that contain calcium or magnesium should be safe to take during pregnancy. Additionally, the additional calcium in antacids, such as Tums, is good for baby and mom. Although, steer away from antacids that contain aluminum (aluminum hydroxide or aluminum carbonate), as they may cause constipation and can be toxic in high doses.
If the ingredients contain, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or sodium citrate, you may want to steer away. As this means, they are high in sodium, causing water retention and swelling.
Unsure of what antacid to take, speak to your medical professional for assistance!
14. H2 Blockers
If none of the remedies listed above seem to be helpful, it may be time to consider stronger medications.
Some of your first options may be an H2 blocker such as Tagamet or Zantac, as these medications are known to contain stomach-acid production. H2 blockers are now accessible without a prescription and considered to be safe for pregnant women. Although, I always recommend talking to your doctor to discuss what options are best for you before starting any medications!
There you have it mamas! Hopefully the above tips will have you kicking heartburn's butt in no time!
And mamas, if you have tried any of the above tips, I would love to hear all about your results! Or if there is something that has worked wonders for you, but is not on the list, let us know in the comments, as it may just help out another pregnant mama!
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