Pregnancy is not just about blissful moments but also enduring various physical discomforts for a period of nine months. During pregnancy, most mothers-to-be tend to experience heartburn or acid reflux due to hormonal rush in the body. What is heart burn?
Heartburn also known as acid indigestion or acid reflux, is an irritation or a burning sensation that extends from the lower breast bone to the lower throat caused by stomach contents through a reflux action. How is it caused?
During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone is released which relaxes the body muscles including the valve that separates oesophagus from the stomach. This causes the gastric acids to come back up (reflux action), and thus the unpleasant burning sensation or heartburn. Also, the growing baby occupies the abdominal cavity, thereby pushing up the stomach acids to the oesophagus. Ways to avoid heartburn
There are ways by which pregnant women can avoid or minimize the burning sensation caused by heartburns during pregnancy:
- Prefer small meals – An overly stuffed stomach can aggravate heartburn so instead of having 3 heavy meals, break it into 5-6 smaller meals that contribute to active health.
- Avoid foods causing gastrointestinal problems – Avoid acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, processed meat, spicy, seasoned foods, fried and oily foods etc. It is also better to avoid chocolates and caffeine beverages.
- Avoid sleeping soon after meals – Do not lie down right after food. Try to eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime for proper digestion. While sleeping, elevate your head with the support of a pillow or two to prevent the stomach acids from rising to your chest.
- Be careful of fluid intake – During meals, sip the water rather than drinking it in large quantity. You can drink water or other fluids in between meals rather than during meals. Also avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol which contribute towards heartburn.
- Do not wear tight clothes – It is better to avoid tight fighting clothes around the stomach and abdomen which tends to increase the pressure and thereby causing heartburn. You can wear maternity clothes or loose clothes to avoid heartburn.
- Chewing gums can help – Chewing gums can help the salivary glands to secrete saliva which can neutralize the stomach acids. Chewing gum after food is preferable for better results.