Pregnancy heartburn is a common side effect of pregnancy that can be very irritating, whether it is experienced as a burning sensation in the chest or a lump in the throat. There are a number of techniques people can use to prevent and treat pregnancy heartburn. Women who find that these measures do not work should talk to their doctors to discuss other treatment options and explore the possibility of undergoing some diagnostic tests to check for pregnancy complications.
The reason heartburn tends to occur during pregnancy is because of hormonal changes in the body. Weight gain and pressure from the growing fetus can also be contributing factors. Women may also experience vomiting during pregnancy. This can make the esophagus feel raw and cause the heartburn to feel even worse.
For pregnancy heartburn prevention, breaking meals up into six small meals every day can be very helpful, as can avoiding lots of fluid at meals to prevent the stomach from distending. Avoiding carbonated, caffeinated, and acidic foods such as soda pop, coffee, and tomatoes will also help limit the development of heartburn. Spicy and high fat foods should also be avoided. For women drinking carbonated beverages to manage nausea and vomiting, avoiding heavily sweetened and caffeinated drinks is recommended.
Wearing loose, comfortable clothing can also help. If clothes are too tight around the midriff, this can contribute to the development of heartburn. Some women also find that it helps to do yoga and breathing exercises. Prenatal yoga instructors can help women find safe yoga poses for pregnancy and may have advice on specific poses to use to avoid digestive problems and heartburn. Chewing gum after meals may also limit production of stomach acids and prevent pregnancy heartburn.
When pregnancy heartburn develops, chewable antacid tablets can be very helpful. Some women also experience relief by consuming dairy products like milk and yogurt with a small amount of honey added to coat the esophagus.
If these measures to address pregnancy heartburn do not work, a doctor may be able to prescribe an antacid that will act more aggressively. The doctor can also explore other potential causes of the heartburn in order to determine if additional steps could be taken to alleviate the discomfort. Women who have been through pregnancy might have additional advice and tips on techniques that worked for them; pregnancy bulletin boards are often a good source of information for expecting parents looking for advice.