Heartburn during pregnancy is a common side effect. During my pregnancy, my heartburn drove me to the brink of insanity, and once on the verge of tears. If you are feeling the burn more than you want to, you've come to the right place. We've got everything you need to know about heartburn during pregnancy, including why it happens and how to minimize it.
Why is this happening?
Heartburn during pregnancy can happen at any time, but you might notice it more in your first and third trimesters. First trimester heartburn happens because of the rapid influx of hormonal changes within those first 12 weeks. Hormones cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus to relax more than usual, and heartburn begins. During your third trimester, it is a combination of the hormones and your growing baby that fuels the burn. As your uterus gets bigger, it crowds all the other organs in your abdomen, including your stomach. As your stomach is squished, the acids in it move upward and cause heartburn.
How can I fix it?
While you can't calm your hormones or stop your uterus from squishing your stomach, a few things can make your heartburn during pregnancy a bit more bearable.
- Consider the timing of your meals. It's best to eat at least a few hours before bedtime or before you plan on lying down for a nap.
- Let gravity work for you. If you remain upright or prop yourself up while sleeping, stomach acids are less likely to rise as much, and you can get some relief.
- Take a look at your diet. Grease, citrus or other acidic foods can cause your heartburn to go into overdrive. If possible, stay away from these foods as much as possible or at least eat them in moderation if you must indulge.
- Eat slowly. I found that when I ate smaller meals throughout the day, I felt less uncomfortable.
- Watch your fluid intake. Try drinking less with your meals, and when you do grab a beverage, try smoothies, milk or liquid yogurt drinks to help balance out the acidity in your stomach.
Every woman is different, and what works for a friend might not work for you. Be open and communicate with your doctor about your heartburn. She can suggest some safe antacids or even give you a prescription to keep your heartburn in check. No matter what, remain confident that after your bundle of joy arrives, your heartburn will fade away.