You already know that pregnancy brings with it a whole slew of hormones that are raging through your body in order to facilitate the growth and development of your baby. Progesterone, a hormone that is necessary for implantation of a fertilized egg and for maintaining pregnancy, is also responsible for that heartburn you’re experiencing.
Progesterone relaxes the valve between the stomach and the esophagus that is meant to keep stomach acid from escaping up into the esophagus. The stomach has a special layer that protects it from stomach acid, but the esophagus is unprotected. When stomach acid gets into the esophagus, it irritates the lining, causing a burning sensation in an area located close to the heart, otherwise known as heartburn.
Heartburn can also be caused directly by your growing baby. As the uterus takes over, it doesn’t leave much room for the stomach, and all that pressure can push the stomach up, causing stomach acid to leak into the esophagus.
Many women wonder how to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy — fast. Luckily, there are many natural remedies and treatments for heartburn that are effective and safe to use during pregnancy.
The best way to ensure a heartburn-free pregnancy is by starting with prevention. The following tips will help you figure out how to prevent heartburn during pregnancy.
Listen to what your body is telling you.
What you can eat during pregnancy is largely dependent on how certain foods make you feel. In your first trimester, you likely had aversions and foods that induced nausea just by looking at them. Now, certain foods may trigger heartburn. Fat, caffeine, chocolate, and citrus fruits are all common foods that cause heartburn during pregnancy. Know your triggers and stay away from them.
Eat small meals.
Rather than eating 3 large meals a day, break it up into five or six smaller meals. A very full stomach will only make your heartburn worse.
Avoid eating before bed.
You shouldn’t lie down soon after eating, as this provides a very easy path for stomach acid to get into the esophagus. Eat upright and remain upright for at least two hours after eating to prevent heartburn.
Separate foods and liquids.
Drinking a lot of liquids during a meal will fill you up even more, leading to an overstuffed stomach. Keep your liquid intake to a minimum during meals and drink more water throughout the day, in between meals.
Wear comfortable clothes.
Tight-fitting clothes will put even more pressure on your already-crowded abdomen. Instead, wear clothes that are loose-fitting and allow for free movement and undisturbed digestion.
There are certain foods that double as natural remedies for heartburn during pregnancy. Some of these home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy may work well for certain women but not for others. Find out what works best for you among these foods that help with heartburn during pregnancy.
- It is recommended to eat multiple small low-acid meals per day, and to avoid lying down during an hour of eating.
- Melons and bananas are good as they have low acid content.
- Fermented foods.
Foods that contain probiotics, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh, are incredibly beneficial for digestion. They are full of enzymes and they help to promote the secretion of digestive juices. This keeps things running smoothly and prevents problems like indigestion and heartburn.
- Green vegetables such as broccoli, beans.
- Bread, especially whole grain.
- Oatmeal that contains lots of healthy fiber.
If you’re wondering what to drink when expecting a baby and plagued by indigestion, there are many beverages that you can sip on throughout the day for relief.
- Milk. The alkaline composition of milk — including cow’s milk and nut milks — can provide immediate relief from heartburn. Just stay away from milk that is high in fat, as fatty foods can cause even worse heartburn.
- Coconut water. Coconut water is very high in electrolytes which promote pH balance and help to neutralize stomach acid.
- Herbal tea. Ginger, fennel, peppermint, and marshmallow root are all heartburn remedies that can be found in tea form. Sip on herbal tea in between meals to prevent or relieve heartburn.
- Water. That’s right — good old water. Sip on it throughout the day to make sure that you stay hydrated so that your digestive system can work as efficiently as possible without any hitches in the form of indigestion.
Avoid beverages that may exacerbate symptoms include caffeinated drinks such as coffee or green, white and black tea, carbonated drinks, and acidic drinks such as orange juice.
How to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy fast
You never know when or where heartburn may strike. It’s a good idea to keep some emergency heartburn-relief remedies in your handbag in case you’re caught off guard.
Keep a small stash of the following items on you at all times:
- A teabag of your favorite heartburn-relieving herbal tea
Calcium-containing antacids such as Tums or Rolaids (just don’t take them close to when you take your prenatal vitamins since calcium blocks iron absorption which is essential for good nutrition during pregnancy).
During pregnancy, the stomach has prolonged gastric emptying times and the gastroesophageal sphincter has decreased tone. Together, these changes lead to reflux and possibly combine with decreased esophageal tone to cause ptyalism, or spitting, during pregnancy as well as reflux and heartburn.
All these changes happening in your body can lead to some very uncomfortable side effects, including indigestion, upset stomach, and heartburn.
Luckily, there are many preventative measures and natural remedies that are safe to use when treating heartburn during pregnancy.
If you’re experiencing extreme discomfort or pain, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any other possible heartburn treatments or medications that you can take during pregnancy.