There are certain things that will happen to you in your pregnancy that are unavoidable. They go with the territory, so to speak. There are also things that frequently or sometimes occur in pregnancy. Actually, more fits in that category than the its going to happen whether you like it or not category. One of those not always scenarios is heartburn with pregnancy.
Just over half of all pregnant women experience severe heartburn. That also means that about half of all women DONT experience heartburn symptoms. So, in this case, heartburn is not inevitable if you are pregnant.
Anytime we experience an unpleasant change in our health there is at least a little cause for concern. That this is the first time this has happened to me feeling is Mother Natures way of causing you to give some thought to what is going on and to ask some important questions. Is this normal? Is there cause for concern? What can be done about it? Should I contact a doctor?
For many women pregnancy is their first brush with the discomfort of heartburn. Later in life, heartburn is actually more likely due to aging and a lifetime of exposure to the toxic modern diet. But, at least for now, you may be wondering what is responsible for this new-found discomfort.
First of all, yes, heartburn is normal with pregnancy. It is information that should be shared with your doctor who can give you good advice on how to deal with it. There are available over-the-counter remedies but not all of them are safe. For example, antacids that contain aluminum can be dangerous. Thats why its important to get clarity from your physician.
Heartburn can manifest itself in varying degrees. At the lowest level is mild indigestion. Progressively heartburn can grow into more troubling symptoms like acid reflux which is caused by stomach contents flowing back into the esophagus and throat. It is important to know, however, that you dont have to live with these symptoms. Something can be done about it with your doctors assistance.
Its easy to understand why heartburn can become a concern during pregnancy. After all, your body is changing dramatically, and much of that change is happening in your stomach. Ah, yes, those hormones. They are at least, in part, are responsible for heartburn. Hormones can affect the muscles of your digestive tract and the way you react to different foods. Pregnancy hormones can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax which allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Another possible contributor is your enlarged uterus as it pushes against your abdomen forcing stomach acid upward.
There are some things that you can do to curb a tendency toward severe heartburn.
1) Avoid heartburn trigger foods and beverages- Spicy, acidic, greasy, and fat laden foods can trigger symptoms. Unfortunately, so can carbonated beverages and chocolate (sorry). Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks are also problematic.
2) Eat smaller and more frequent meals- Large meals can prompt heartburn symptoms. Instead of 3 meals per day increase to 6 smaller meals giving your body more time for proper digestion.
3) Dont eat before going to bed- Dont consume food for 2-3 hours prior to bedtime.
4) Wear loose fitting clothes- This is kind of a no-brainer if you are pregnant but if you are insistent on wearing tight clothing you will be aggravating the heartburn issue.
5) Dont smoke- That and alcoholic beverages should already be on your no-no list. Smoking can and does prompt heartburn symptoms.
Chances are that you selected this article because you are already experiencing some heartburn symptoms. The good news is that you can do something to relieve your discomfort. After the baby is born you should experience fairly immediate relief.
Unfortunately, as I said earlier, these symptoms will likely return later in life. Take measures now to prevent severe heartburn, acid reflux, and other related problems from reoccurring in the future. By keeping the weight off and eating healthy food you can minimize your chances of heartburn ever becoming a serious problem.
Heartburn with pregnancy is only a temporary concern. You can get relief with the help of your doctor and even do some things to keep it under control.