Heartburn During Pregnancy

Many women experience heartburn during pregnancy. Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion or acid reflux, is the burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. Even women who have never experienced it before may have their first contact with the nasty burning sensation during pregnancy.

Why? When a woman gets pregnant, her placenta starts producing more of the hormone progesterone. This hormone coats the lining of the uterus, helping the muscles in the uterus relax in order to carry the baby. Unfortunately, it also relaxes the valve between the stomach and esophagus. When the sphincter muscle is relaxed, food and stomach acids can reflux back up into your esophagus and throat.

Later during pregnancy, as your body changes and your baby grows and starts pushing more on your organs, his position is likely to make the heartburn even worse. More pressure put on your stomach causes the stomach content to go up into the esophagus causing more heartburn.

Although you may not be able to eliminate heartburn completely, there are several things you can do to help ease the recurrence and discomfort of heartburn.

Try the following:

  • Don't eat foods that trigger your heartburn. Lots of people suggest not eating foods that are known to cause heartburn (such as chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, mustard, vinegar, mint products, and spicy, highly seasoned, fried, and fatty foods). A little much to ask someone who's pregnant, right? Rather pay attention to what you ate before getting heartburn and avoid it.

  • Don't drink caffeine, carbonated beverages and alcohol. These can relax the lower esophageal pphincter and allow acid to reflux back into the esophagus. You should be limiting caffeine and definitely alcohol for other reasons during pregnancy as well.

  • Don't eat big meals. Eat several small meals throughout the day instead. Also better for your diet.

  • Don't rush through your meals. Take your time eating. This way your food is broken down.

  • Don't go straight to bed after eating. Wait at least three hours so you can digest your food while sitting up.

  • Sleep with your head and shoulders propped up. This allows gravity to work in your favor.

  • Don't Slouch. Sit upright in a comfortable chair keeping pressure off your stomach.

  • Don't wear tight clothing. Wear comfortable maternity clothes that don't put pressure on you.

  • Chewing gum after eating. Chewing gum stimulates salivary glands, which can neutralize acid.

You should always check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter remedies, but there are a few choices that can help. Some heartburn reliefs such as Tums, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Gaviscon may prove helpful.

Savannah Hernandez and Tabatha Jones, owners of Mommy Appelseed Maternity Clothing, grew up together and have remained close friends ever since. They came up with the idea of starting an online maternity clothes boutique while discussing their decisions to expand our families. Remembering the dull maternity fashions during their first pregnancies compelled them to open an maternity clothes boutique that offered comfortable, sexy maternity clothes without sacrificing style.

Reprinted with permission from Mommy Appelseed Maternity Clothing.