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How do I Treat Acid Reflux During Pregnancy?

Article Details
  • Written By: Stacy C.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 April 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are many different ways to treat acid reflux during pregnancy. They range from natural treatments, such as simply avoiding certain foods that trigger the reflux, such as caffeine, carbonated beverages and licorice, to medicinal treatments. Doctors sometimes prescribe such medications as antacids and H2 blockers to help ease acid reflux during pregnancy. Effectively treating acid reflux may also take a combination of treatments; with cases of severe acid reflux, the symptoms may not totally go away until after pregnancy but may be reduced.

Changing sleeping habits can help lessen acid reflux symptoms. Studies have shown that lying flat on the back makes acid reflux symptoms more exaggerated — elevating the head of the bed or sleeping sitting up or slightly angled may help. Similarly, lying on the left side can have a similar effect. Pajama pants or any clothing that is tight around the waist should be avoided.

A woman experiencing acid reflux during pregnancy can try making changes to her diet and eating patterns to treat the problem. Many foods can trigger symptoms, including chocolate, caffeine, spicy food, processed meats, carbonated drinks and peppermints. Conversely, chewing gum can actually help prevent acid reflux. It increases saliva production and makes the gum-chewer swallow more often, which can help clear away any acid in the esophagus.

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Eating small meals on a more frequent basis instead of three large meals a day can also decrease reflux because it forces the stomach to empty faster. A stomach that contracts while empty can often decrease the occurrence of reflux. In addition, yogurt and warm, low-fat milk can help calm the esophagus. Eating licorice may also help — the anise spice it is flavored with usually helps with digestion. With a doctor's approval, taking an aloe vera pill or drinking aloe vera juice mixed with juice may ease acid reflux pains as well.

Medicinal options for acid reflux include chewable or drinkable antacids. These are considered very safe to take for acid reflux during pregnancy because they are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Stronger drugs called H2 blockers shut off the production of acid in the stomach entirely. They are, however, absorbed into the bloodstream but are usually considered safe. Pregnant women should consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

There are two main causes of acid reflux during pregnancy: changes in hormones and the growing fetus. Increased estrogen and progesterone decrease lower esophageal sphincter pressure, and the ever-increasing weight of the fetus puts extra pressure on organs in the abdomen. These two factors combined often create acid reflux in pregnant woman. Most treatments will also work for gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD

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