Heartburn during pregnancy can really be discomforting. If you are experiencing heartburn in pregnancy you really want it to stop immediately. There are ways to reduce heartburn during pregnancy. After careful research and studies we’ve come up with these five effective ways to reduce heartburn in pregnancy.
It was not hard grappling with all the other signs of discomfort that come with pregnancy. I had learnt to deal with the back pains, the swelling, insomnia, regular trips to the bathroom, tiredness and sweating. It was even a lot easier to deal with a psychological shock than heartburn during pregnancy. the constant excruciating pain of heartburn med pregnancy more like a curse than a miracle. By the middle of the third trimester I was just praying for him to ‘come off ‘.
Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle responsible for holding the stomach contents in place, begin to weaken or leak. When this happens, gastric acids begin to make their way into the oesophagus. Heartburn can also be known as digestive acid disorder or it can also be called reflux. It usually occurs in the second or third trimester of a pregnancy. It has been observed to occur in over 50% of all pregnancies. Most times it is noticed after meals or during sleep. The feeling can really be uncomfortable and sometimes very excruciating pains and accompany it.
For two reasons pregnant women are very prone to this health condition. First, a condition called hormonal relaxing. This refers to an active restriction in the joints and connective tissues in order to aid the delivery process. This slows down the digestion process. Food stays longer in the stomach and more acidic foods are triggered off as a result of this. Secondly, the growing and unborn child puts pressure on both the stomach and LES. This could increase the chances of acids getting into the esophagus.
After careful and diligent research and studies, we have compiled about five ways to reduce heartburn during pregnancy.
Reduce Heartburn During Pregnancy
These steps can reduce heartburn during pregnancy if followed diligently:
1.Eat less but you can eat more often
According to a registered nutritionist in Atlanta who specialises more on prenatal nutrition, Rachel Brandeis, overnutrition worsens heartburn. In her own words,”when you are pregnant, you have less room to expand your stomach”.
Gaining more weight than necessary during pregnancy can put more pressure on the stomach. This could be a causal factor for heartburn during pregnancy. If you maintain a reasonable diet during pregnancy, you will not only eliminate heartburn on the short-term but also reduce it throughout the period of pregnancy.
Brandeis advises that instead of three meals a day, 6 mini meals could be of great help in relieving heartburn during pregnancy. Each of these mini meals should not contain more than one and a half cup of food. Smaller foods are easier to digest. This could be really helpful in reducing heartburn during pregnancy.
2. Eliminate foods that trigger heartburn
As a way of trying to reduce heartburn during pregnancy, it is necessary to identify the foods that trigger this condition. Once these foods are identified avoid or eliminate them from your meals.
There are no generally prohibited foods. But foods that are acidic trigger this condition. These foods can include coffee, chocolate, spicy foods, carbonated beverages, tomatoes, citrus and alcohol-which of course you should avoid anyway.
3. Take more liquid foods
According to Brandeis, liquid foods are less likely to cause heartburn during pregnancy since they can easily move around in the stomach faster. Protein shakes, pudding, yoghurt,soups, sauces,milkshakes powders are good choices.
Introduce liquids that contain a lot of protein like milk and yoghurt into your meals. Try as much as possible to reduce solids to liquid form by chewing food more vigorously until they are liquid like before swallowing. take care not to always drink very often during meals as this could introduce air into the stomach which in turn causes heartburn. Rather take little sips in between pauses during meals.
4. Learn the art of sleeping smart
To reduce heartburn during pregnancy at night, avoid eating at least 3 hours before going to bed. Lift your head up by placing your books under your pillow. Gastric acids will have to do a lot of work against ‘gravity’ before getting to the oesophagus. This would seem an upheaval task like going up a mountain. Also pregnant women should not lie immediately after meals.
5. Take more calcium-containing antacids
Calcium-containing antacids,like Tums or Rolaids, could be of great relief. Nevertheless too much calcium can block the absorption of iron. It is not advisable to take Tumas while taking prenatal vitamins.
Avoid antacids that contain aluminium (including aluminium hydroxide or aluminium carbonate) as these can cause constipation or even become toxins at high dosages.
Do not take products containing aspirin during pregnancy. Watch out for salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid in foods.
High sodium content causes water retention which could be a risk factor of heartburn during pregnancy. So, antacids containing sodium bicarbonate (that is baking soda) or sodium citrate should also be avoided.
Nutrition plan to relieve heartburn during pregnancy
Below is an example of what a day’s healthy mini meal plan could look like:
- Lean milk, one apple and one glass of oatmeal
- One glass of yoghurt with fruit
Jelly sandwich, one glass vegetable soup and half peanut butter
- Half glass of mashed potato, two ounces of chicken, half glass of curd and fruit
- One ounce of hard cheese and one handful of whole grain of crackers