Pregnancy is an amazing time for most women- there’s nothing more special than knowing you have a baby on the way. But unfortunately, it can cause all manner of unpleasant and unexpected symptoms,too (most of which, no-one warned us about!) Acid reflux is one of these things. Women who have previously never experienced digestive issues can be struck down for months with this always irritating and often painful condition. If you’re pregnant and suffering from acid reflux you’re definitely not alone, you’re in the same boat as up to 80% of women. So what are the best ways to combat acid reflux during pregnancy?
What Is The Cause?---
There are two main reasons why acid reflux occurs during pregnancy. The first is due to hormonal changes. During the first trimester, the body tries to absorb as many nutrients as possible for the baby. It does this by causing muscles in the esophagus push food more slowly into the stomach, and making the stomach take longer to empty. And while these processes may be beneficial for extracting more nutrients from food, they can also cause indigestion and heartburn. The second reason that pregnancy causes heartburn is because in the later stages of pregnancy your growing baby can push your stomach out of its normal position. This means that the first and third trimesters are the times that you’re most likely to experience this.
How Can I Treat It?---
There are a few ways you can reduce acid reflux, as well as treat is when it does occur. The first is by eating smaller meals. These will put less pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle that keeps food in the stomach. Pressure here can cause food acid to travel back up the gullet, leading to that painful burning sensation we all recognize from acid reflux. The second is to follow an acid reflux diet plan. This involves cutting out certain ‘trigger’ foods. As well as making suitable food choices, and general healthy lifestyle choices. It’s important to eat a wide variety of foods during pregnancy so your body gets everything it needs. But most trigger foods are unhealthy saturated fats such as fried and fast foods, which ideally you should be avoiding anyway. Making sure you chew foods properly, and not going to bed (or lying down) within an hour of eating will also help. When you do experience a bout of indigestion, over the counter antacid medications can help to relieve the symptoms. If you’re not sure about anything, consult your doctor or pharmacist first.
When Will It Go Away?---
You’ll be glad to know that heartburn will go away once your baby has arrived. For some people it will go away instantly, for others it may take a bit longer. But if you never experienced heartburn before your pregnancy, chances are you won’t afterwards either. Especially if you follow a healthy diet, avoid foods that commonly cause heartburn and don’t eat too close to bedtime.
Did you experience heartburn during your pregnancy? If so, were you able to treat it?