Many women tend to experience heartburn symptoms when they are still carrying their babies, and this happens for several reasons. One of these is the increase of hormones in the women’s body while they are pregnant. The occurrence of this will result in softening the ligaments which function is to keep the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) firmly closed. When the LES rests at unsuitable periods, tendency is, this will let the gastric acid and food to reflux back to the esophagus and throat.
One more reason of experiencing heartburn during pregnancy is because the changes in the body and the development of the baby creates more pressure in the women’s stomach. Therefore, the stomach contents are forced right into the LES, and then to the esophagus.
Causes of Heartburn during Pregnancy
There might be many other causes of heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy, mostly due to if the mother has been pregnant before or in the later stages of pregnancy where stomach related complications are observed.
- Hormone Changes
During pregnancy, hormone changes can allow the muscles in the oesophagus, including the LES, to relax more frequently. The result is that more acids may seep back up, particularly when you’re lying down or after you’ve eaten a large meal.
- Growing Fetus
As your fetus grows during the second and third trimesters and your uterus expands to accommodate that growth, your stomach is under more pressure. This can also result in food and acid being pushed back up into your oesophagus.
- Poor Food Habits
Most spicy, greasy, fatty foods known for causing heartburn are also likely to cause problems for pregnant women. Food doesn’t digest as well or move as quickly during pregnancy.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle
Smoking makes heartburn worse and is another reason to quit, especially while pregnant.
Ways to Soothes your Heartburn for Pregnant Women
Heartburn plagues most moms-to-be at some point because progesterone, the hormone that relaxes muscles in pregnancy, also relaxes the stomach valve that keeps acid out of the oesophagus. In addition, the growing uterus crowds the stomach, forcing acid into the oesophagus.
1. Eat Small Meals
If you’re suffering from morning sickness, eating just a little at a time is probably no problem for you. But if your appetite is healthy, be sure to avoid eating so much that you feel full.
2. Take it Slow
Bolting down your food can also lead to heartburn and indigestion. Try to relax and enjoy your meals, which will also help you avoid overeating.
3. Stay Hydrated
Rather than drinking a big glass of milk with dinner, you may be better off just sipping liquids during meals. Try to get most of your fluid intake by drinking beverages between, rather than during, meals.
4. Sit or Stand after a Meal
After a meal, take a leisurely walk, do a little housework, sit down and read a book—just don’t lie down, and don’t do anything that requires you to bend over. Both of these activities can help wash acid back up into your oesophagus.
5. Don’t eat right before bedtime
Having a hearty meal and then heading to bed is a recipe for heartburn, warns Joel Richter, MD, director of the division of gastroenterology and nutrition and the oesophagal diseases center at the University of South Florida, in Tampa, who has studied heartburn during pregnancy. He recommends trying not to eat for at least three hours before you go to sleep. You should also try to avoid liquids starting a few hours before bedtime.
6. Keep your Head and Upper chest elevated
Many people with acid reflux swear by their “bedges,” wedge-shaped pillows that gently slant your upper body upwards to keep stomach acid where it belongs.
7. Know your Triggers
Rather than tell his pregnant patients to avoid a specific food, Dr. Richter says he advises them to stay away from foods that specifically aggravate them. Everybody’s different, Dr. Richter says. Some pregnant women can chow down on spicy Mexican food or a plate of spaghetti and meatballs with no ill effects.
8. Try Ginger
This spice can also combat nausea and vomiting, which often go hand-in-hand with heartburn.
Methods and Advice for Pregnant Women who suffers from Heartburn
However, there are several methods that a pregnant woman can observe to lessen the discomfort brought by heartburn. The following are good advice, although this may not remove the heartburn totally:
- Avoid the food that triggers heartburn. Examples of this are chocolates, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, mustard, tomatoes and tomato-based products, fatty foods, fried foods, and highly seasoned dishes. Try to refer to medical specialists to know the complete list of foods to avoid Acid Reflux. Also, for foods that you may take which contains little danger of causing heartburn.
- Get rid of drinks that have caffeine, like tea, coffee, and soda. Too much of these will cause the LES to relax and let the acid to return into the oesophagus.
- Stay away from alcoholic beverages. This, like caffeine, tends to relax the LES thus, creating the same effect—triggering heartburn.
- Avoid eating large meals. It is suggested that taking numerous small meals throughout the day will be better.
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