Heartburn is a common ailment during pregnancy with more than half of all pregnant women reporting symptoms of severe heartburn, especially during the second and third trimesters. While it is unlikely you will be able to completely thwart pregnancy-related heartburn, there are a number of steps you can take in terms of the general prevention and treatment of symptoms.
While following these prevention measures and expecting to go through pregnancy heartburn-free may likely lead to disappointment, you only stand to benefit from following these heartburn prevention methods. They may very well help you experience less effects of pregnancy heartburn or potentially avoid the troublesome problem all together.
- Eat small meals throughout the day rather than three large ones
- Eat slowly and drink less while eating than you typically would; save water or other beverages for after or before meals when possible
- Avoid foods known to cause heartburn, such as fried, spicy, or rich foods, or any foods you have learned through personal experience seem to increase your risk of heartburn
- Avoid lying down immediately after eating
- Elevate the head of your bed higher than the foot of your bed while sleeping, or place pillows beneath your shoulders to elevate your upper half; this helps keep stomach acids from rising into your chest
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid added pressure to your stomach and chest, which can increase heartburn discomfort
- Many moms who have been there, done that in terms of pregnancy heartburn swear by a number of different home and homeopathic remedies, including:
- Homemade mint simple syrup
- Coconut water
- 1 tsp baking soda in 1 cup water
- 10 mL apple cider vinegar chased with water
- yogurt (try it with a bit of honey)
- milk (keep in mind, for some, an allergy to milk can trigger the heartburn)
- Consult with your midwife or naturopath on the following tried and true remedies as well:
- Papaya enzyme tablets, or raw papaya
- Slippery elm lozenges
- Nux vomica (homeopathic)
- Arsenicum Album 12C (homeopathic)
- Carbo Veg 12C (homeopathic)
- Chiropractic care
- Chamomile, alfalfa, or fennel (tea form can be soothing)
- Increasing protein intake, decreasing sugar intake, and increasing probiotics for good pH balance in your stomach. Kefir is a great probiotic drink you can try!
- Other physical ways to provide relief include massaging an acupressure spot on the base of the left big toe or taking deep breaths with gentle chest openers — drawing the shoulder blades back and together gently to open the chest and raise the diaphragm
- Medical treatment can be available in the form of over-the –counter medications (OTC) like Prevacid 24HR (Pregnancy Category B), Zantac (Pregnancy Category B), Pepcid (Pregnancy Category B), Gaviscon (Pregnancy Category B), Tums (Pregnancy Category C), Tums Smoothies (Pregnancy Category C). Presciption medications are also available to discuss with your provider.
Before treating your pregnancy heartburn be sure to consult with your midwife or physician to ensure he or she does not feel any part of your treatment plan is contraindicated for pregnancy. Although uncommon, unrelenting heartburn could be a sign of another, more serious condition. In almost all cases, even though heartburn may linger despite every trick in the book, pregnancy-related heartburn abates almost immediately following birth.
This post was the second in our Treating Common Pregnancy Ailments series, in which we have also discussed the ins and outs of treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Feel free to comment here or on our Facebook wall and let us know what common pregnancy ailments you would like us to tackle next.
Heartburn During Pregnancy: Treatment & Prevention, WebMD
Special thanks to my local moms group friends for providing the personal experience and insight for much of the above home remedy suggestions
Image courtesy of M Car from Flickr
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