Heartburn during pregnancy? Heartburn doesn’t just come with indigestion, but also it is one of the many other symptoms of pregnancy. This time, let’s sum up everything you’d want to know about heartburn during pregnancy: the symptoms, the reasons, and the remedies you can use!
Heartburn during pregnancy: Symptoms
Once pregnancy is established, physical changes might take place very swiftly and abruptly, making it a challenge for some moms to adapt to their “new” bodies. If you’re experiencing a whole bout of changes, your own body could feel a little alien to you. Regardless of whatever food is eaten, or whatever food is left on the plate, the result might remain unchanged: You get heartburn.
Changing your diet to foods that are more easily digested might help, but that doesn’t mean you truly escape from the clutches of heartburn. Over-the-counter stomach medications aren’t all that safe for pregnant moms to take. This gastric pain might make a revisit even when morning sickness subsides, so please continue to take note of your own condition.
Heartburn during pregnancy: Reasons
The first reason why you might get heartburn during pregnancy is the slowing down of your bowel movements. Progesterone, a hormone secreted by the corpus luteum, prevents the uterus from starting on its contractions, but at the same time, it also causes bowel movement to slow down. As a result, your intestines are unable to work at the same level of efficiency as they usually do, and food is stored in the stomach for a longer time, resulting in heartburn.
The second reason is because your automatic nervous system (ANS) is affected by the changes in your lifestyle rhythm and the stress in having to adapt to those changes. Your nervous system is divided into the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic system (PSNS). The SNS is activated under conditions of stress and is responsible for the fight-or-flight response while the PSNS – called the rest and digest system – helps in the digestion of food and lowering metabolic rates.
The third reason is because of acid reflux. In the early stages of pregnancy, morning sickness might make you throw up, and as acid reflux takes place too often, the gastric acid from the stomach goes up the esophagus and causes your chest to hurt.
The fourth reason is the growing baby. Heartburn might disappear in the second trimester, but can return or worsen again in the third trimester. This is because the growing baby, a larger placenta and more amniotic fluid mean that the uterus is now bigger than it was before. The uterus compresses the surrounding organs and intestines, pushes the stomach up, and slows bowel movement down, resulting in indigestion and heartburn.
What are the methods you can use to fight heartburn?
Method #1: Eat a small amount of food at one meal
Your meals can help you fight heartburn. Reduce the amount of food you eat in one meal, and eat smaller meals more frequently to give your gastric juices something to work on. Avoid fatty foods or foods containing spices, and don’t eat anything 2 hours before you sleep.
Method #2: Eating food that is easy on the stomach
When your stomach is upset and you need food that will help calm your churning insides down, you can consider eating food that is bland, like porridge or oatmeal. If you need something a little sweet or sour, you might want to have some yogurt, jelly, or even some bananas. Avoid fried, fatty or spicy food, and fresh vegetables too. Have your food (even your veggies!) boiled or steamed and reduce the stress on your digestive system!
Method #3: Avoid having an empty stomach
When your stomach is empty, your gastric juices have nothing to work on and this could lead to heartburn much more easily. Although you’ve probably heard time and again that you’re not to put on more than the recommended weight gain, make sure you don’t overdo it either. You need enough nutrients for both yourself and your baby. Have small snacks in-between meals to keep your stomach busy, and make sure you keep your fluids up. When you have enough fluids, your stomach juices aren’t as acidic, and this can help to combat heartburn.
Method #4: Watch your sleeping position
When you’re sleeping, gastric acid could swim up your esophagus if you’re sleeping in a position tilting your upper body down. Use a pillow to prop your head up. As your belly grows bigger, you might have difficulties sleeping on your back, so sleep on your side when possible.
Method #5: Medicine
If your heartburn doesn’t get better even when you’ve tried all you can, you might want to consider taking medicine that will help you combat heartburn. Go to the doctor’s as soon as possible, and your doctor might give you some antacid (to neutralize the acid in the stomach). Make sure that those medicines are safe to take during pregnancy.
No biting off more than you can chew
You might be on cloud nine about your pregnancy, but when you’re having heartburn and acid reflux in addition to your morning sickness, pregnancy for now, might seem like anything but fun. Biting off more than you can chew is strictly forbidden, and when you’re physically worn out, rest and consult your doctor on how you can fight your way through the heartburn.