Each pregnancy can bring different symptoms and different ways of being uncomfortable. I have gone through three pregnancies and each one was different and unique. During one pregnancy, the most difficult symptom was being tired. I believe I could have slept the entire nine months easily. In another pregnancy, I suffered from morning sickness, the whole time. And in the third pregnancy, I had heartburn. Heartburn that stopped me from sleeping. Heartburn that severely limited my diet. Heartburn that came no matter what I ate. Heartburn that hurt.
Heartburn is caused when the valve between your stomach and your esophagus is not working properly. Normally this valve stops stomach acids from entering the esophagus. During pregnancy there are two main causes of heartburn. The first is the hormone progesterone. This hormone causes the valve to relax. The second occurs during the third trimester. The growing uterus can push up on the valve, causing it to open. Both reasons cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus and irritate the lining, causing a burning feeling in your chest.
Although heartburn can be painful, it is harmless. A burning sensation or pain can be felt anywhere from the bottom of the breastbone up to the lower throat. More than one half of pregnant women complain of heartburn.
Ways to Prevent or Reduce Heartburn
- Eat smaller meals more often during the day and eat slowly.
- Avoid foods that can contribute to heartburn such as spicy foods, acidic foods, fried foods or rich foods. Avoid carbonated beverages.
- Decrease the amount of fluids while eating.
- Avoid lying down after eating.
- Use an extra pillow to elevate your head and shoulders when you are sleeping.
- Chew gum after eating to help neutralize acids in the stomach.
- Wear loose fitting clothes.
- Over the counter antacids may help. You should speak with your doctor, however, before taking any medications, even over the counter medications, such as Tums, should be discussed.
- Don't drink alcohol or smoke.
- Try yogurt or milk after a meal.
If none of these methods work and you are experiencing discomfort that is interfering with your life, talk with your doctor. Your physician may be able to prescribe additional medications.
Published On: October 08, 2008