Heartburn in pregnancy
Heartburn during pregnancy: causes, treatment
Heartburn at different stages of pregnancy affects three out of four future mothers. Moreover, heartburn can occur even if previously it had never occured! Where does the heartburn come from?
An unpleasant, sharp, sour taste in the mouth, burning sensation in the throat or the stomach – that’s all it is. The nature of heartburn is that the contents of the stomach (where, as is known, food is digested with acid) are thrown back into the esophagus. And the esophageal mucosa suffers from the acid exposure.
Heartburn typically occurs after meals or in a supine position, manifested most strongly in the second half of pregnancy and can last from a few minutes to several hours.
The cause of heartburn during pregnancy
Why heartburn becomes a frequent guest in pregnant women? The main cause of heartburn during pregnancy is hormonal changes in the body. The esophagus and stomach share a special muscle – sphincter, which normally does not just give food go back. But during pregnancy, the body’s levels of the hormone progesterone increases.
Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscles throughout the body, which is necessary to reduce the excitability of the uterus with the fetus resting in it. But apart from the relaxing of the uterine smooth muscle and other organs it also relaxes the sphincter from the stomach into the esophagus.
And with the development of pregnancy, the uterus becomes larger, thronging the intestines, diaphragm and stomach, which creates additional conditions for the throwing of stomach contents into the esophagus. Under the influence of hormones gastric acidity can also grow, causing a burning sensation. Many pregnant women are literally deprived of sleep due to heartburn.
We have comforting news for those who suffer from acid reflux right now: this bad, but not too dangerous illness has no effect on pregnancy and fetal development. There are many ways to get rid of heartburn, or at least alleviate it, and we’ll talk about these methods.
Even if they do not 100% help, a reassuring one for future mothers can become the fact that in the last month of pregnancy heartburn usually becomes much weaker. The fact is that at this time the production of progesterone decreases in the body. And not without reason: it happens for the uterus to prepare for the birth pangs, and the belly itself usually moves down due to the lowering of the baby’s head, reducing the pressure on the stomach. The childbirth will almost certainly become a welcome relief from heartburn in pregnancy!
How to treat heartburn during pregnancy
Now when we know the cause of heartburn during pregnancy, you can clean out the factors that strengthen it and minimize them.
It is advisable not to take antispasmodics – they relax the muscles of internal organs even more. Therefore, if you occasionally have to take this kind of medication, it is better to inform your doctor that you suffer from heartburn, and ask for the opportunity to choose another treatment.
Given that heartburn is provoked by a stifled condition of the stomach, try not to press it further. It is better to get rid of things that tighten the abdomen and waist. Try not to bend more than necessary, instead just try to squat, bending the knees. And after eating it is best for at least half an hour not to lie in bed because the transition to a horizontal position, too, provokes throwing acidic stomach contents into the esophagus.
There is also a theory that heartburn in pregnant women may develop in response to the rejection of food, which has a potentially harmful effect on the baby. Whether it is true or not – we don’t know, but it is certain that the heartburn gets worse because of the food that causes stomach acid production more than the average level. Therefore, if a burning sensation bothers you too much, exclude coffee, acidic and carbonated drinks, spicy marinated dishes and seasonings from your menu.
The same applies to all sour vegetables (especially for tomatoes), fruits and berries, as well as a variety of fermented milk products (except hard cheese). Watch also for your own reaction to the following foods (which also lead to increased acidity, but not all of them): fresh bread or any yeast product; fatty meats and fish; hard boiled eggs; fried food; too hot or cold dishes. And, of course, be careful not to load your stomach too much at night, when it is expected to spend a lot of time lying down.
Means from heartburn during pregnancy
Often pregnant women tortured by heartburn start taking drugs. Of course, before using them it is necessary to consult a doctor who will help you choose a harmless coating and astringent means.
It is necessary to be careful when taking antacids – they neutralize the acid, but the acidity of gastric juices is different for everyone – only specific analyzes can show it. Therefore, the best option is still a diet.
If you have not yet switched to split meals, it’s time to do so in connection with the appearance of heartburn. There should be small portions, five to seven times a day, the last time – three hours before bedtime.
You can drink milk in small portions throughout to it the day. Aromatherapists advise to add a drop of essential oil of fennel to it (note that the oil have to be natural, synthetic cheap oil can only hurt!).
As the means coating and soothing the stomach you can also drink a variety of kissels, in small quantities, or freshly made potato juice.
Many pregnant women notice that heartburn retreats or hurts a lot less, if during the day you chew oatmeal, forest or almonds, or grated carrot.
Ginger helps often – it can be added while cooking in the form of a powder or you can buy fresh ginger root and cut it into small pieces for chewing.
Do not forget that with heartburn it is better to sleep on the back, and so that the upper part of the body is raised on cushions. If you really want to turn over on the side – keep in mind that depending on the stomach bending on one side heartburn always feels stronger than on the other.
Finally, with heartburn and a healthy pregnancy this principle helps: less stress and tension, more rest and relaxation!