Most women experience heartburn at one point or the other during pregnancy. Generally it has no long-term effects; but can be very uncomfortable. The condition is also referred to as acid reflux and causes a burning sensation in the chest/lower throat.
Pregnancy heartburn is mainly caused by the growing uterus which crowds the abdominal cavity, pushing the stomach acids back up in the throat, causing the burning sensation. It is important to note that this acid is as a result of the digestion process, making the heartburn occur soon after meals.
Pregnancy acid reflux may not disappear completely, but you can ease the heartburn as follows:
- Avoid big meals; instead settle for many small meals throughout the day. Eat slowly and chew each bite completely.
- Avoid foods and drinks that increase acidity such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, caffeine, citrus fruits, tomatoes and highly spiced foods. Identify what spikes your acidity and avoid it.
- Sip fluids in between meals as opposed to taking them together with the foods.
- Eat 2 or 3 hours before sleeping to give food time to digest before you lie down. Engaging in some activity after eating also increases the digestion rate and reduces chances of a pregnancy heartburn.
- Try chewing gum after meals. This stimulates the secretion of saliva which neutralizes acid.
- Prop yourself up with pillows when sleeping to keep the upper body elevated and confine acids to the stomach.
- Avoid tight clothing especially around the stomach.
- Avoid bending at the waist; especially after meals. Bend at the knees instead.
- Adding excess unhealthy weight puts you at a higher risk of heartburn.
Have some antacid to ease the pregnancy heartburn; although this is not a permanent solution. Try out the above methods and find what works for you; then you can stick to it.