Family & Relationships Pregnancy Heartburn: 4 Tips to Stop Feeling the Burn
Kate shows off growing baby bump on whistle-stop tour of Coventry
Prince William and Kate Middleton spent the day in Coventry visiting the famed cathedral, meeting university students and visiting a youth foundation © Copyright ¡HOLA! Hello! Magazine William, 35, and Kate, 36, toured the ruins of the original building before visiting the new cathedral. They met members of the choir and enjoyed a cup of tea with staff and volunteers at the Rising Café, a social enterprise aimed at providing work and opportunity for those overcoming drug and alcohol addictions. The royals were on good form, chatting away, while Kate, who dressed her baby bump in a bright pink coat, sported a fresh pregnancy glow.
You may already know that the hormone progesterone does a lot of really vital stuff during pregnancy; essentially, it creates a secure, healthy home/uterus for the fertilized egg and then the growing baby. But with the wonderful comes the not so wonderful in the form of a progesterone-fueled pregnancy side effect many parents-to-be can relate to: pregnancy heartburn.
Sorry to shatter the myth, but heartburn during pregnancy has absolutely nothing to do with how much hair your baby has. It's a result of the fact that progesterone, while relaxing the uterine muscles, also relaxes the valve at the top of the stomach. This allows gastric acid to splash back up — or reflux — into the esophagus.
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And if you're wondering whether you have pregnancy heartburn, you probably don't. It's a pretty unmistakable symptom: an intense, disruptive burning sensation in the chest and throat that makes eating a challenge and can interfere with sleep.
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"It's a rite of passage for about 60 percent of pregnant women," Dr. Sherry Ross, an OB-GYN at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells SheKnows. According to Ross, heartburn typically begins in the second trimester and continues throughout the rest of the pregnancy.
"I don't usually see pregnancy heartburn in my clients before 24 weeks gestation," Karly Nuttall, licensed midwife and cohost of the Birth Kweens podcast, tells SheKnows. "As your growing baby starts to take up more room in your abdomen and shrink the stomach's capacity, it pushes the stomach's contents up through the relaxed esophagus, and voila — heartburn!"
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We're not going to lie to you, pregnant people. You might not be able to avoid pregnancy heartburn altogether. But you can follow these expert tips to minimize the burn and get back to enjoying food (and sleeping) as much as possible.
1. Avoid common heartburn triggers
Craving fried or fatty foods during pregnancy? That might be one longing you should try to resist. Foods with high fat content are more difficult to digest, says Ross. This causes a delay in the emptying of your stomach, which creates more acids. Instead, go for grilled, roasted or baked foods.
Another dietary no-no for heartburn sufferers is spicy foods, as these can irritate the lining of the esophagus. If possible, stick to blander foods with minimal seasoning during pregnancy (and look forward to that hot curry as soon as Baby is born). Acidic foods — including grains, sugar, dairy, processed foods, fruits and fruit juices — can also cause heartburn because they hike up acidity levels in the stomach. Safer alkaline alternatives include soy, unsweetened yogurt and milk, fresh vegetables, potatoes, beans, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
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2. Eat small & slow
As well as avoiding common dietary triggers, Ross recommends eating several small meals a day instead of three large ones and taking your time when eating. Try not to wash down your food with too much liquid, which can increase the risk of acid reflux. It may be preposterous to say, "Don't lie down," to pregnant women, but... don't lie down straight after eating. When you do lie down, keep your head higher than your feet, such as by placing pillows under your shoulders. This helps prevent stomach acids rising up into your chest.
3. Try natural remedies
Nuttall recommends massaging your respiratory diaphragm to make more room for your stomach (this is easier than it sounds, and you can get great tutorials on YouTube — but check in with your midwife or OB-GYN first to make sure you're doing it correctly).
Other natural remedies for heartburn include slippery elm lozenges and taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with every meal. Drinking baking soda (one teaspoon) dissolved in water (8 ounces) may also relieve heartburn symptoms because baking soda's alkaline pH means it neutralizes stomach acids. Ross recommends drinking a half-cup of aloe vera juice because its anti-inflammatory properties calm the stomach and esophagus that become inflamed from a buildup of acid. Another simple but often very effective home remedy for heartburn is chewing gum; this stimulates the salivary glands, helping to clear the buildup of acid in the stomach.
Exactly 70 Days Ago, I Found Out I Was Pregnant
Exactly 70 days ago, I found out I was pregnant. I was drunk when I found out I was pregnant. I was actually out celebrating the Christmas break with my two best friends, when the male friend said, “your period is how late?’, and scurried off to Tesco to acquire two Clear Blue pregnancy tests (not an advert for Clear Blue, but definitely better than the £2 tests I’d used before). On his return, I drank lots of water, laughed at the ludicrousness of it all and scampered to the toilets of Dean Street Townhouse. It was in this toilet that I found out I was with child. My face on exiting the toilet said it all, tear stained cheeks and a look of total shock.
However, these strategies don't work every time for everyone, so if your heartburn is extreme or disturbing your sleep, you may need an over-the-counter medication.
4. Take heartburn medication safe for pregnancy
Before you take any OTC meds for pregnancy heartburn, make sure they're safe. Medications such as Tums help coat the esophagus and minimize the burning sensation and are safe during pregnancy. (Nuttall recommends taking no more than two Tums per day.) Other OTC medications that help with heartburn symptoms include Zantac and Pepcid AC. These medications should be taken 30 minutes before each meal and before bedtime for optimal results, advises Ross. It's unusual to have to take a prescription medication for pregnancy heartburn symptoms, but consult with your obstetrician or health care provider if you don't get relief from OTC meds.
If you're feeling the burn during pregnancy, take some comfort from the fact that millions of other parents-to-be are fighting the same battle against stomach acids. (And that there is some good news: Heartburn usually disappears as soon as the baby arrives.)
Related: The 10 Best Prenatal Vitamins Your Body Needs For a Healthy Pregnancy (Provided by Popsugar)
How To Survive Pregnancy Insomnia .
When I fell pregnant, there were many things I was prepared to embrace: oils for stretch marks, skinny jeans with strange pouches for my expanding tummy, a more exciting bra size, cutting out alcohol. I never realised how much I’d taken for granted my blissful, uncomplicated relationship with sleep until it was cruelly wrenched away. In the first few weeks of my pregnancy I watched myself turn from a generally positive and energetic person to a bleary-eyed grump who would wake up wondering how to get through the day on only one coffee.
Heartburn in Pregnancy - 10 Tips to Identify, Prevent, and Treat
This video features ten tips based on expert clinical guidelines published by UpToDate online, and the Mayo Clinic's Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. These recommendations are presented by Dr....
How to prevent heartburn during pregnancy?- Dr. Shefali Tyagi
Women complain a lot about heartburn. To prevent heartburn, eat six small meals a day. Six small meals are always better than three large ones. Have a small snack at 11 am and one at 5 30 pm.....
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