Acid reflux is a common problem for expectant mothers. For women who suffer from this problem, weeks or even months of restless sleep may lie ahead. Fortunately, pregnant women can find relief from acid reflux by gaining a better understanding of what is taking place within their bodies and by seeking out natural reflux remedies.
Understanding Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
While most expectant mothers do not suffer from acid reflux, it is a common phenomenon during pregnancy. For those that do suffer from this condition, symptoms generally start to develop during the second or third trimester because of the hormonal changes that occur.
As hormonal levels change, they cause the Lower Esophageal Sphincter, or LES, muscles within the digestive tract to relax. As a result, the acid within the stomach is able to move into the esophagus. This problem is further aggravated by the fact that pregnant women often become less tolerant of certain foods as well as because the uterus grows larger throughout the pregnancy, which crowds the stomach and pushes the acid upward. For this reason, women who are pregnant with twins are at an even greater risk of experiencing reflux.
Treatment for Acid Reflux in Pregnancy
The good news for expectant mothers is that the symptoms associated with acid reflux generally go away within a couple weeks after giving birth. Furthermore, until that joyous day occurs, there are several things you can do in order to alleviate the symptoms without causing any harm to the baby. Some of these include:
Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than a couple large meals
Eat food slowly and completely rather than gobbling it down
Avoid eating rich, spicy and fatty foods, as these foods tend to weaken the LES
Drink less water while eating, as drinking large amounts of water while eating can actually increase acid reflux activity
Sit upright for an hour or more after eating
Elevate your head and entire torso on a wedge pillow that supports you on an even plane in order to prevent stomach acid from rising
Wear loose clothing in order to prevent placing unnecessary pressure on your abdomen
If none of these methods help alleviate your acid reflux symptoms, you may need to talk to your doctor to see if acid reducing medication is appropriate to help you get a better night’s sleep. Be sure to discuss the benefits versus the potential side effects, however, as you certainly don’t want to put your unborn child at risk.
At the same time, dealing with a lack of sleep over a long period of time can place unnecessary stress on your body as well as on your child. Therefore, it is worth your while to explore all of your options in order to select the treatment method that provides the best rest and sleep for you as well as for your child.