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Pregnancy Heartburn

Pregnancy Heartburn...

Heartburn is a strong, burning pain in the chest caused by stomach acid passing from your stomach into your oesophagus (the tube that leads from your mouth to your stomach).

The valve between your stomach and oesophagus that is called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) does not function properly, allowing some of the digestive acids from your stomach to back up into your oesophagus.
Pregnancy Heartburn

Since your oesophagus does not have any sort of lining to protect it from these strong acids, the result can be a painful burning and an acidic taste in your mouth.

During pregnancy, it is thought that this valve might stop working efficiently due to the hormones in your body or the fact that the additional weight in your abdomen puts additional pressure on your stomach and forces more of the acid back up your digestive tract.

Because there are multiple possibilities in causes of pregnancy heartburn, the symptoms can appear at almost any time throughout your pregnancy term.

By the final trimester, it becomes increasingly difficult for you to sleep, particularly if the painful burning sensations are not giving you any relief at night.

Heartburn during pregnancy is a complaint that a lot of pregnant woman will have from time to time.

Most woman who have never experienced heartburn may get their first taste of it while they are pregnant.

Although it's common and harmless, it can be painful. When you're pregnant, you are more likely to have indigestion due to...

  • hormonal changes that your body is going through
  • your growing womb (uterus) pressing on your stomach
  • the relaxing of the lower oesophageal sphincter (ring of muscle) that acts like a gate between your stomach and your oesophagus, allowing stomach acid to leak back up.

You may be more likely to get indigestion in pregnancy if...

  • you had indigestion before you were pregnant
  • you have been pregnant before
  • you are in the latter stages of pregnancy.

Symptoms of Heartburn & Indigestion in Pregnancy

Symptoms of heartburn and indigestion in pregnancy are the same as for anyone else with the condition.

The main symptom is pain or a feeling of discomfort in your chest or stomach.

This usually happens soon after eating or drinking, but there can sometimes be a delay between eating a meal and developing indigestion.

You may experience indigestion at any point during your pregnancy, although your symptoms may be more frequent and severe during later pregnancy, from 27 weeks onwards.

As well as pain, indigestion may cause...

  • heartburn, a burning sensation caused by acid passing from the stomach into the oesophagus
  • feeling uncomfortable or heavy
  • belching (burping)
  • regurgitation (food coming back up from the stomach)
  • bloating
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • vomiting (being sick).

What You Can Do About Heartburn

Although you may not be able to eliminate heartburn entirely, some of the following may give you some relief...

The main triggers are eating, lying down and bending over. If you can work out which activities make heartburn worse for you, you can try to avoid them.

You can help ease the discomfort of indigestion and heartburn by making changes to your diet and lifestyle, and there are treatments that are safe to take in pregnancy.

If you have noticed that your pregnancy heartburn symptoms begin to flare up after eating certain foods or drinking a particular beverage, avoiding those foods may be all that is required to avoid the heartburn.

Smoking is already a no-no during pregnancy, but avoiding heartburn symptoms is just one more reason to kick the habit.

Chewing gum or sucking hard candies can increase the saliva in the mouth which can act as a barrier for the harmful acids.

If your pregnancy heartburn does not seem to feel better after these diet and lifestyle modifications, you can talk to your doctor about taking over the counter antacids to help curb your pregnancy heartburn symptoms.

Choose food and drink that is easy to digest. That means skipping rich, high-fat or spicy dishes, chocolate, citrus fruits or juices, alcohol and coffee.

Drink fluids before or after eating. A milky drink can help to settle heartburn. If full-fat milk makes your heartburn worse, switch to skimmed.

Keep upright, particularly during and just after meals. Sit up straight and try not to bend over or slump.

Wear loose clothes around your stomach and try not to lie down for at least an hour after eating.

If your heartburn is worse at night, try not to eat or drink anything but water for the three hours before you go to bed.

Sleep in a propped-up position. Use several pillows, or raise the head of your bed with some cushions or rolled up towels.

Gravity will help keep your stomach acids where they should be and aid your digestion. Check that any medicines that you're taking for other conditions aren't making your heartburn worse.

When you are pregnant then you have a lot of uncomfortable changes that are going on in your body and heartburn during pregnancy is just one more to add to that.

There are many ways you can start treating heartburn during pregnancy but lifestyle changes will go a long way in preventing heartburn in the first place.

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