Heartburn bothers many an expectant mother. The real culprit is the hormone called progesterone.
It’s the hormone tasked with relaxing muscles during pregnancy. Unfortunately, muscles are not the only organs it relaxes.
It also relaxes the stomach valve that prevents acids from getting into the esophagus. Oh, and there’s also the growing uterus that squeezes the stomach. The stomach, overpowered, has to release the acids into the esophagus.
Can it be stopped? Why yes! You can stop it in numerous safe and effective manners.
Here you’ll find the twelve best ways to do so. Experts claim that no expectant mommy has to suffer from heartburn. That’s why they came up with a list of efficient ways that’ll hopefully help you get rid of this nuisance.
Eating Smaller Meals
A pregnant woman who is suffering from morning sickness is probably already used to eating only a bit at a time. However, even if your appetite is quite healthy, try to avoid eating big amounts of food in one sitting.
The same goes for all women, not just pregnant ones – a stuffed stomach can lead to heartburn. Eating five to six smaller meals a day is much better than having three full meals.
Taking It Slow
Eating too fast can also cause heartburn as well as other digestion issues. When you are eating, make sure to relax. Savor the moment – it’ll prevent overeating as well.
Instead of drinking a huge glass of milk during a meal, try to go with smaller sips. The best way to consume fluids is between meals.
Sitting Or Standing After a Meal
After you have eaten, go for a stroll, do some house chores, or sit back and enjoy your favorite novel. Whatever you chose to do – do not lie down.
Bending over should also be avoided. Both of these activities will only help the acid find its way into your esophagus.
Avoid Meals Before Bed
Having a big meal and hitting the hay straight away spells heartburn – big time. Don’t take our word for it, it’s the advice of Joel Richter, MD.
According to his advice, it is best to stay away from the kitchen and dining table for at least three hours before bedtime. It would also be best not to drink liquids a couple of hours before going to sleep.
Know What Triggers Your Stomach
Citrus, chocolate, caffeine, fat – all taste great but should be avoided in pregnancy. They are some common triggers and expectant mothers are advised to avoid them. However, what triggers heartburns in one woman, might not do so in another.
Instead of avoiding particular food, it’s best to avoid food that you know will especially aggravate your stomach. Not everyone is the same – some expectant mothers can go through a bowl of spicy Thai food or a plate of pasta without any ill effects.
Wearing Loose-Fitting Clothing
Your stomach is already under pressure from the uterus. Wearing tight clothes will only make matters worse. Tight clothing can possibly worsen acid reflux.
Loose-fitting mommy dresses are one possible way of ending heartburns. There are plenty of gorgeous dresses to choose from. Momy clothing can be just as fashionable as any other.
Trying Out Ginger
A lot of pregnant women have reported that ginger, be it in the form of ginger candies or ginger ale, eases their upset stomach. Ginger is also excellent at combating nausea and vomiting – symptoms that often follow acid reflux. However, science is still on the fence with this one, but science also says there’s no harm in consuming ginger while pregnant.
Lifestyle changes can take some pregnant women only so far. If you have tried all of the above and it still hasn’t cut it, do not despair, there are other options. Over-the-counter medicine can help ease your heartburn symptoms.
Antacid drugs that contain magnesium or calcium ought to be safe to take in pregnancy. Actually, the extra calcium that can be found in antacid drugs is great for both the mother and the infant.
However, experts advise pregnant women to avoid taking antacid medicine that contains aluminum as it can lead to constipation and is toxic at high doses. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a common cure for this problem but avoid it as well as it can cause swelling.
Discuss Taking H2 Blockers With Your Specialist
H2 blockers are stronger than your over-the-counter antacids and might do the trick if antacids are of no help. The most common H2 blockers given to pregnant women are Zantac or Tagamet. The drugs are great at suppressing stomach-acid production.
Every H2 Inhibitor available on the market is over-the-counter and thought to be safe to use during pregnancy. They will probably do the job and one has to take them only once or twice a day. However, it is strongly advised to consult your doctor before starting to take them.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
H2 Inhibitors are almost certain to work. If they do not, you still have options. The last resort would be PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). One of the best-known drugs of the kind is Prevacid.
Such medicine is more potent and suppresses acids better than any H2 blocker. PPIs are also available without a prescription. Generally, they had been considered to be safe for expectant mommies.
However, recently, animal studies have shown that the chemical omeprazole (Prilosec) might potentially be harmful to a developing fetus. According to Dr. Richter, it’s simply best to stay away from them. If you think that’s the only option you have left, and have tried everything else, be sure to discuss PPIs with your doctor first, and not take matters into your own hands.