If you’ve noticed increased heartburn and indigestion since becoming pregnant, you are not alone. More than half of all pregnant women report having heartburn, especially later in pregnancy.
Heartburn can be unsettling if you never experienced it before pregnancy. The main symptom is a burning sensation in the chest and esophagus. This is caused by acid reflux- the contents of your stomach coming back up.
Your hormones have a big effect on your digestive tract and your tolerance to certain foods. Your growing belly also plays a part in crowding your organs and pushing those stomach acids back up. This combination of factors can be extremely unpleasant.
So how do you avoid or treat the heartburn?
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
- Eat slowly, so you don’t overfill your stomach.
- Pay attention to your diet. Keep track of what foods might be the culprits of your heartburn. Often these are fried, spicy or rich foods.
- Drink less while eating. Liquids increase that acid reflux.
- Don’t lie down after eating. Stay upright and let gravity help keep your food down.
- Talk to your care provider about safe over-the-counter medications. If your heartburn is severe, you may consider a liquid or chewable antacid.
Heartburn won’t likely cause any harm to your baby, as long as you stay nourished and hydrated. It’s uncomfortable but disappears for many women once the baby arrives.