Heartburn is an unpleasant sensation in the chest caused by the backflow of acids from the stomach to the esophagus. It is a common phenomenon that occurs in almost 80% of women during pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes. The progesterone causes the valve that prevents stomach acids from flowing back into the esophagus to relax allowing acids to pass more easily and irritate the lining. Acids in the stomach are due to incomplete digestion.
Below are 11 tips on how to reduce heartburn during pregnancy.
- Eat small quantities of food at frequent intervals
When pregnant, there is little room for your stomach to expand. Smaller foods are easier for your body to digest, aim at eating six meals a day instead of three. Overeating causes heartburn and makes, you gain unnecessary weight that will put pressure on your abdomen and cause heartburn throughout the pregnancy.
- Eat slowly
Taking time to chew will give the enzymes time to digest the food and avoid heartburn. Bolting down food leads to indigestion and heartburn. Always relax and enjoy your meals.
- Avoid spicy and fatty foods
This food acts as a trigger to heartburns. They are believed to relax the lower esophageal sphincter muscles thus increasing the risk of heartburn.
- Wear loose fitting clothing
Let your body relax. Tight fitting clothing increases pressure on your stomach and abdomen thus increasing the chances of developing a heartburn.
- Use over the counter antacids
These medicines are effective in fast relieve of heartburn. They should be used at the discretion of a medical practitioner. Antacids clot the esophagus hence reducing irritation. Those that contain alginates act by restricting the acids in the stomach.
You should avoid preparations with aluminum hydroxide, as it is a major cause of constipation. Sodium antacids should be avoided as they cause water retention that can lead to fetal alkalosis.
- Do not lie down immediately after eating
Lying down can push stomach contents back up. Sit or stand after meals. Take a leisurely walk around the house or do some light chores, just do not bend. This will help restrict the acids in the stomach.
- Drink less while eating
Sip liquids. Do not take a whole glass of any fluid while eating. Drink your beverages between meals and not during meals.
- Focus on fluids
Drink more fluids to avoid constipation. Fluids move faster through the stomach. Yogurt milkshakes, protein shakes are good choices.
- Use of alkaline water
This alkaline diet has a higher health perk. The alkaline water has a higher pH than normal water hence can help neutralize acid in the stomach.
- Do not eat just before going to bed
This will take pressure from the digestive enzymes when the body is tired and ready to sleep. Elevate your head by placing pillows to prevent acids from flowing back. Eating and heading to bed is a recipe for heartburn. Always eats three hours before going to bed.
- Chew naturally sweetened gum
Chewing after a meal activates the salivary glands to produce more saliva. Being alkaline, it neutralizes the acidity relieving the chest from heartburn.
You can ease heartburn by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Though you may not eliminate the symptom completely, taking the steps to control heartburn is essential in easing discomfort.