Heartburn is a common symptom that many women experience during pregnancy. It’s caused by a growing uterus and progesterone - a hormone that relaxes your muscles and readies your body for birth. This size increase of your uterus coupled with relaxed muscles (including your stomach valve) allows acid to filter into your esophagus, creating that burning sensation.
Fortunately, there are ways to help reduce the pain. Here are 4 solutions to relieving heartburn during pregnancy:
1. Eating Smaller Meals
Eating until your stomach is full or overly stuffed can contribute to heartburn whether you’re pregnant or not. When you are pregnant, there’s even less room for your stomach to expand. Instead of eating three big meals a day, try helping yourself to five or six smaller ones. Another good tip is to eat slowly, and avoid fried, spicy, or fatty foods.
2. Take a Post-Meal Walk
While pregnancy can often leave you feeling tired and fatigued, going for a walk after eating can help reduce the pains of heartburn. Don’t push yourself too hard, but try to move around after a meal to help wash acid back out of your esophagus. Whatever you choose to do, just be sure to avoid lying down or bending over.
3.Keep Your (Bed) Head Up
To avoid nighttime heartburn, keep the head of your bed elevated. A 4-6 inch incline will help elevate the upper part of your body, preventing stomach acids from rising into your chest. It’s important to note that propping yourself up with extra pillows instead of raising your bed puts your body into a bent position, which can cause an increase in pressure on your abdomen. That pressure can aggravate your heartburn and reflux symptoms, causing continued pain and discomfort.
4.Consider Taking Antacids
If all else fails, consider taking antacids to help alleviate heartburn, indigestion and gas pains. Antacids that contain calcium or magnesium are typically safe options, but it’s always important to consult with your doctor to determine which is best for you during your pregnancy.