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Pregnancy Heartburn – Truth Or Myth?

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Pregnancy HeartburnThere’s a good chance that women who experience pregnancy heartburn are getting these symptoms for the first time. Although it can cause a major discomfort, it is generally not a serious concern.


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Heartburn (aka acid reflux or indigestion) causes a fiery burning sensation in the area of the breastbone which can sometimes radiate up into the throat. This is most likely caused by a shift in the body’s hormonal levels and also through physical changes.

 

The hormone progesterone is manufactured in the placenta which acts as a relaxant to the uterine muscles. It also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is the valve splitting the stomach from the esophagus. This permits stomach acid to seep up into the esophagus causing the discomforting burning sensation that is heartburn.

The progesterone also works to suppress the contractions in the intestines and esophagus. This makes for a slower digestive process. As your pregnancy progresses, the baby can move around and create pressure to push the acids from the stomach into the esophagus.

 

Normally, women who start getting pregnancy heartburn and other gastrointestinal conditions usually find this to happen in the second half of the pregnancy. This condition will usually last until the baby is born.

 

What Can I Do About My Pregnancy Heartburn?

 

Totally eliminating your pregnancy heartburn may not be possible however, you can take the following steps to minimize your pain.

  • Stay away from food and beverages which are known to cause the symptoms of heartburn. These are things like: acidic foods, tomatoes, vinegar, citrus fruits, mint, highly seasoned and fatty foods. Also alcohol (which is a no-no during pregnancy anyway), carbonated as well as caffeine drinks.
  • Don’t over-eat. Eat more often during the day and eat less per meal. Make sure you take your time to chew your food thoroughly.
  • Don’t eat before going to bed. Leave at least 3 hours after eating for digestion before turning in for the night.
  • Don’t drink a larger quantity of liquids with your meal. This will bloat your stomach and add pressure unnecessarily. Drink your recommended 8-10 glasses of water over time during the day.
  • Chew some gum after dinner. This helps produce saliva which in turn will calm the stomach acid.
  • Don’t wear tight clothing. The looser the better. Stay away from excess tightness around your middle.
  • Prop yourself up in bed with extra pillows. This will make it harder for the stomach acid to travel up into throat, lessening the chance of pregnancy heartburn.
  • Quit smoking. You shouldn’t be doing this anyway during pregnancy. This stimulates more acid in the stomach causing a heartburn attack.
  • Don’t bend at the waist. Make sure you use your knees for that.

These are some great tips to help ease your pregnancy heartburn. If none of these help and you are still experiencing a problem, it’s time to talk to your healthcare professional.

 

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