Desperate to find a permanent fix to your heartburns? Although heartburn during pregnancy can be triggered by natural causes, you shouldn’t lose hope and bear the searing pain! There are, as a matter of fact, several home remedies for heartburn that you can do to finally get rid of those heartburns. The best thing about these remedies is that they’re healthy and will in no way endanger the safety of your little angel waiting to be born.
Because of the many discomforts experienced by women during pregnancy, heartburns may be wrongfully diagnosed. In fact, it is often misdiagnosed as chest pain and worse, heart attacks. Without a doubt, an in-depth understanding of how acid reflux during pregnancy feels like is in order. In fact, diagnosing this condition doesn’t require expert medical advice. Although it would certainly help, the heartburn will have usually passed by the time you reach the doctor. That’s precisely why you and your partner need to know when you are suffering from heartburn.
Pregnant women experiencing heartburn feel a burning sensation at the bottom of the breastbone running across the throat. It can last for minutes to hours and usually simulates the symptoms of chest pain. These heartburns are also accompanied by a sour acidic taste at the back of the throat. Sometimes, there may also be a difficulty of proper breathing, which triggers coughing fits. Because heartburns during pregnancy are essentially digestive problems, women also report flatulence and excessive gas during or after suffering from heartburns.
Stages of Pregnancies where Heartburn Occurs (Why)
The primary cause of heartburn in pregnant women is hormonal variations. An estimated half of pregnant women suffer from heartburn at least once during their pregnancy. Also, these variations last throughout the entire period of expectancy, so experiencing heartburns at any trimester is anything but unnatural. There are, however, varying reasons why heartburns occur at certain stages of the pregnancy. Knowing the cause of the heartburn, however, is a starting point to finding out the most appropriate natural remedies.
- First Trimester
Early in the pregnancy, or during the first trimester, you may experience the first symptoms of heartburns. This may come as a surprise, especially if you’ve never had heartburns before! In Heartburn during Pregnancy, a research published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Nagler and Spiro point out that during the early stages of pregnancy, a third of women begin having heartburns. In this stage, antacid therapy, or medicinal therapy, may prove to be ineffective.
During this period, the placenta starts producing progesterone, the primary purpose of which is to relax the uterus. However, it also relaxes the esophageal sphincter, the valve which prevents stomach acid from being released. Because of this relaxation, the stomach acid is naturally released into the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux—otherwise known as heartburns.
Aside from relaxing the valve, the production of progesterone also slows down the regular digestive process of your body. Because of the slowing down of the wavelike contractions that facilitate digestion, an unwarranted amount of stomach acid is released. This ultimately results in heartburns.
- Second Trimester
During the middle stage of the pregnancy or the mid-trimester, generally, the same symptoms of acid reflux occur. Because of the baby’s growth though, more progesterone is produced by the placenta and digestion becomes much slower. In effect, heartburns may occur more frequently, usually accompanied by gastrointestinal problems. Flatulence is also commonly experienced by mothers at this stage.
- Last Trimester
During the final stage of pregnancy, heartburns occur because of the growing size of the uterus. During the third trimester, the increased size of the uterus places pressure on other internal organs, such as the stomach and the intestines. This causes irritation, where stomach acid is released. It may also cause stomach acids to be pushed upward into the esophagus through the esophageal sphincter, and cause heartburns.
Although the causes of heartburns during pregnancy are highly natural, either because of hormonal variations or pressure to the internal organs, it is also a result of poor diet, lack of exercise, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. If you would notice, these are the same causes of heartburns in women who are not pregnant—even in men, for that matter! In other words, you shouldn’t blame the acid reflux for natural causes, because they can be as much a cause of your harmful habits.
For that reason, you must not simply ignore heartburns during pregnancy. Going to the doctor is not necessary. In fact, getting prescription drugs may not be ideal for the baby. What you ought to do instead is to make certain changes in your lifestyle. There are a variety of natural remedies that are proven safe for you and your baby.
Natural Remedies for Pregnant Women
You may not be able to stop your uterus from growing or your placenta from producing progesterone, but there are more than enough natural remedies to relieve the pain of having an acid reflux.
- Adjust your eating habits.
A certain change in your eating habits may be called for. For one, you are advised to take smaller meals and not three heavy meals throughout the day. By eating full meals, you run the risk of having acid reflux because of the pressure to your digestive system. Six small healthy meals throughout the day should be sufficient for you and your baby, with equal intervals in between. Also, refrain from eating late at night. To be sure, your last meal should be one or two hours before you retire to bed. Lastly, don’t rush! Eating fast won’t do anymore you have to savor every bite of your meal.
- Take a few foods out of your list.
You need to avoid certain foods that generally cause heartburn. Overly fatty foods, especially deep-fried meals, should be out of the list. This means that you shouldn’t eat at greasy restaurants and fast food joints. You should also stay away from drinking caffeinated and carbonated beverages. Tomato-based products are also a no-no. If you like marinara sauce and chocolate so much, you will have to stop yourself in the meanwhile.
Alternately, there are certain foods that will help prevent heartburns: pineapple, potato, chewing gum, fibrous vegetables, and certain herbal supplements.
- Stop that smoking or drinking habit!
This is something that you should’ve done a long time ago: drinking alcohol and smoking cause heartburn, pregnant or not. By smoking or drinking during pregnancy, you not only run the risk of having acid reflux, you also endanger the life of your child. Besides, you wouldn’t want your child to have fetal defects when born.
- Change your posture.
Your posture also has a lot to do with the slow contractions during digestion and increased pressure in your stomach. While sitting down, you should always sit upright and not slouch. By slouching, you increase the odds of your uttering exerting pressure on your internal organs, and hence increase the likelihood of heartburns.
When bending, you should bend your knees and not with your waist. Aside from being infinitely harder and almost physically excruciating, bending with your waist can upset and pressure your stomach.
When sleeping, prop up your pillow and allow your head to be elevated at a level of four to six inches. You are basically working with gravity here. By tilting your head upwards, the stomach acid will have little chance of getting up to your esophagus and throat. Clever and practical, isn’t it?