Heartburn During Pregnancy: Cause, Symptoms, & Prevention
For expecting mothers, you are likely to experience heartburn at some point during your pregnancy. Approximately half of all pregnant women face heartburn, which refers to the burning sensation from the chest to the throat during or after eating. Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, but it is a kind of acid reflux which may cause discomfort. So, if you are having this problem, here are a few tips on what you can do.
What causes heartburn?
In reality, your pregnancy is the main cause of heartburn. Normally, the esophagus is the channel where food travels during the process of digestion towards the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and finally to the stomach.
During pregnancy, your body releases hormones that relax the esophagus, leading to the burning sensation called heartburn. This may happen you overeat or lay down immediately after eating a meal.
Aside from this, your growing baby also takes up space in your uterus which causes food to travel backward to the stomach and cause heartburn.
Symptoms of Heartburn
The burning sensation and fire in your stomach after meals is a clear case of heartburn. For many women, this can be one of the worst parts of pregnancy.
How to prevent heartburn during pregnancy
The good news about heartburn is that it can be prevented through minor changes. These methods can help to reduce and relieve your heartburn during pregnancy:
- Avoid acidic food: Spicy and fatty food is the trigger of heartburn. However, it is not necessary the spicy and fatty food which causes heartburn. Some women can eat heavy and spicy food without any problem. So, you need to understand which kinds of food trigger the heartburn. Sometimes, the usage of caffeine can also cause heartburn. You understand your food reflex better than anyone.
- Avoid Laying Down after meal: Even normally, laying down after a meal can cause acid reflux. During pregnancy, do some light work or walk before going to bed after having a meal. If you can’t walk, you just need to sit down instead of laying down. It can keep the food in the right place during the digestion process.
- Eat slowly: It is another healthy habit you need to adopt during pregnancy. When you eat slowly, you will break down the food in very small pieces which quickens the process of digestion.
- Be elevated: after a meal, you should stay your upper body part up while laying down. This process keeps the food in the stomach and prevents heartburn.
- Avoid wearing fitted clothes: Fitted clothes can tighten your stomach which causes heartburn. Wear loose clothes to feel free and fresh during pregnancy.
- Maintain a healthy weight: If you gain extra weight or you are already obese, or overweight, the effect of heartburn can worsen. Being pregnant does not mean you can be overweight which can cause many problems. For preventing heartburn, maintain a healthy weight.
- Last but not least, try to take a small proportion of meals instead of eating it three times a day. It helps digestion easy.