Good Posture Is One Of The Easiest Ways To Prevent Heartburn
Posture is another factor that can positively or negatively affect the lives of people with heartburn. Thus experts recommend straightening your back as much as possible. This is because, by adopting a hunched posture, the stomach area can compress and release acid, causing symptoms such as spitting up or unexpected vomiting.
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Symptoms Of Indigestion And Heartburn
Symptoms of indigestion and heartburn include:
- a burning sensation or pain in the chest
- feeling full, heavy or bloated
- burping or belching
- feeling or being sick
- bringing up food
Symptoms usually come on soon after eating or drinking, but there can sometimes be a delay between eating and developing indigestion.
You can get symptoms at any point during your pregnancy, but they are more common from 27 weeks onwards.
If You’re Taking Prescription Medicines
Speak to your GP if you’re taking medicine for another condition, such as antidepressants, and you think it may be making your indigestion worse. They may be able to prescribe an alternative medicine.
Never stop taking a prescribed medicine unless you’re advised to do so by your GP or another qualified healthcare professional who’s responsible for your care.
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When Can I Expect The Heartburn To End During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, heartburn is a symptom you’re likely to experience throughout your entire pregnancy if you have it at all.
In fact, even if you escaped indigestion early on in your pregnancy, there’s a good chance you’ll have a surge starting around the second or third trimesters, when your uterus takes over your abdominal cavity and forces your stomach upwards.
Fortunately, the burn should clear up as soon as you give birth.
What You Need To Know About Heartburn During Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy, there is no shortage of symptoms and changes to expect throughout the process. However, when you know what to expect, you can prepare yourself ahead of time! One of the most common symptoms is heartburn, with more than half of pregnant women reporting experiencing it, particularly during the third trimester. Here at Memphis Obstetrics and Gynecological Association, P.C. weve put together your guide on what you need to know about heartburn during pregnancy!
Knowing what to expect and having a plan in place to combat any pesky problems can make all the difference in your pregnancy. Keep reading to learn all about pregnancy heartburn, what causes it, and how to overcome it!
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How Early In Pregnancy Does Heartburn Start
Heartburn is mostly caused by the hormone progesterone, which rises after ovulation.
If a pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels keep rising. This means heartburn can start very early.
Progesterone slows down the digestive system, which can cause various symptoms in the body, including heartburn.
Heartburn can start as soon as the baby is conceived.
It could last only a short time, or it could last for the whole pregnancy.
Progesterone levels are higher throughout pregnancy.
As fertility expert Dr. Andrew Orr explains, these progesterone levels are typical during pregnancy:
- First trimester: 11.2 90 ng/mL
- Second trimester: 25.6 89.4 ng/mL
- Third trimester: 48.4 42.5 ng/mL.
Progesterone tends to peak in the first or second trimester and levels are lower in the third trimester.
However, you might still experience heartburn later in pregnancy.
During the third trimester, its more likely to be due to your baby taking up more room and leaving less room for your digestive system.
The hormone relaxin also contributes to heartburn later in pregnancy.
Relaxin relaxes muscles, including the sphincters in your digestive system that usually keep food and stomach acid from travelling up your esophagus.
When Should I Talk To My Doctor
If you have heartburn that often wakes you up at night, returns as soon as your antacid wears off, or creates other symptoms , you may have a more serious problem that requires attention.
Your doctor may diagnose you with GERD. This means that your heartburn needs to be controlled to protect you from complications such as damage to the esophagus.
Your doctor may prescribe certain acid-reducing medications to reduce your symptoms.
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Why Do Pregnant Women Get Heartburn During Early Pregnancy
When a woman becomes pregnant, the levels of progesterone in her body rise and remain elevated for the duration. These increased levels of progesterone result in the relaxing of the stomach valve leading back to the esophagus, allowing an increased amount of stomach acid to enter the throat and thus causing that burning sensation we all associate with acid reflux.
These additional hormones due to pregnancy also cause a womans digestion to slow to allow her body and the babys to absorb more nutrients. This can also result in food lingering in the stomach longer than normal, causing increased stomach agitation and heartburn, a symptom that is only exacerbated by the growing womb crowding the abdomen.
How To Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy
If you are experiencing the symptoms of heartburn unexpectedly and more frequently, try minimizing consumption of spicy and acidic foods and beverages, avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible, and opt for dairy products high in calcium or probiotics to help alleviate discomfort. Most importantly, though, if the symptoms of heartburn do not subside or you believe you may be pregnant consult a primary care physician as soon as possible and consider the additional resources offered by Baptist Health for expecting mothers.
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How Do I Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy
When youre growing a human being, you dont have time for that yucky acid reflux. But your usual go-to methods for treating it may not be safe for your unborn baby.
Instead, here are some of the safest and best ways to get rid of heartburn when youre pregnant:
What Are The Causes Of Heartburn In Pregnancy
In early stages of pregnancy, the body starts producing big quantities of progesterone which has a relaxing effect on muscles, which enables better absorption of nutrients that feed the baby. However, progesterone can also loosen the lower esophageal sphincter which separates the stomach from esophagus. However, if it is too relaxed, stomach acid might go back from the stomach into the esophagus which might cause a very uncomfortable burning sensation around the heart .
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What Causes Pregnancy Heartburn
Although the exact causes of this heartburn arent clear, most experts believe that pregnancy hormones, particularly progesterone, play a role.
Hormones cause relaxation of the esophageal sphincter, which is a tight circular band of muscle at the top of the stomach. This allows partially digested food and stomach acids to backflow, or reflux, into the esophagus. In addition, progesterone also slows the digestive process. This keeps food in the stomach longer.
The pregnancy itself the upward pressure of the growing uterus also may play a role.
These can make your heartburn worse:
- Most spicy, greasy or fatty foods
- Eating large meals or overeating
- Eating right before bedtime
- Smoking makes heartburn worse and is another reason to quit, especially while pregnant
What Can You Do To Feel Better
Heartburn is very common during pregnancy. Here are some things that can help.
- Eat small meals.
Try 4 to 5 smaller meals instead of 2 or 3 large ones.
- Cut back on drinks with caffeine.
These include coffee, tea, and some sodas.
- Avoid foods that have a lot of acid.
These include tomatoes and oranges.
- Cut out chocolate, peppermint, and spicy foods.
- Stay upright after meals.
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When Can I Expect Heartburn To End
Someday, scientists may very well invent a miracle medication that promises permanent pregnancy heartburn relief. Unfortunately, that hasnt happened yet.
So, if youre wondering how long you can expect to deal with heartburn while youre pregnant, it will probably be throughout your entire pregnancy.
However, just because theres no cure, that doesnt mean you cant find some relief in the meantime.
What Is Happening In The Womb At 5 Dpo
At 5 DPO, if the sperm has reached and fertilized the egg, the cells within the newly formed zygote begin multiplying to create a lump of cells called a blastocyst.
These cells continue to multiply as the blastocyst makes its way down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus.
When the blastocyst reaches the uterine wall, it attaches itself to get access to nutrients through the blood. At 5 DPO, the blastocyst may either be traveling to the uterine wall or already connected to it.
If it is attached, the blastocyst has started its journey toward becoming a fetus, and pregnancy is underway.
The specific symptoms of pregnancy vary hugely from woman to woman. There is no normal, as each pregnancy is unique.
However, some of the earliest symptoms that women may notice tend to include the following:
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Causes Of Indigestion In Pregnancy
Symptoms of indigestion come when the acid in your stomach irritates your stomach lining or your gullet. This causes pain and a burning feeling.
When you’re pregnant, you’re more likely to have indigestion because of:
- hormonal changes
- the growing baby pressing on your stomach
- the muscles between your stomach and gullet relaxing, allowing stomach acid to come back up
You may be more likely to get indigestion in pregnancy if:
- you had indigestion before you were pregnant
- you’ve been pregnant before
- you’re in the later stages of pregnancy
Prevention Of Heartburn During Pregnancy
Some tips that may help you cut down on heartburn during your pregnancy include:
- Eat several small meals each day instead of three large ones.
- Avoid fried, spicy, or rich foods or any foods that seem to cause relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and increase the risk of heartburn.
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Heartburn During Pregnancy Remedies
Preventing heartburn is the best way to deal with it! Here are some helpful tips for avoiding heartburn:
- Eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals
- Wait an hour after eating to lie down
- Avoid spicy, greasy, and fatty foods
If you are experiencing heartburn, there are a few natural ways to relieve the symptoms:
- Eat yogurt or drink a glass of milk
- Try a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm milk
Over-the-counter antacids may prove helpful in relieving your heartburn, but do not take antacids without speaking to your healthcare provider. Some antacids contain high levels of sodium, which can cause fluid buildup in body tissues. Some also contain aluminum, which is not considered safe for pregnancy.
If your heartburn is severe, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication for you.
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What Does Pregnancy Heartburn Feel Like
Heartburn is a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. Many women experience heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, and although it’s common and generally harmless, it can be quite uncomfortable. More than two-thirds of women suffer from heartburn or acid reflux during pregnancy.
Heartburn and related issues like gas and bloating during pregnancy usually start in the second or third trimester, but it can be sooner for some women. The discomfort will probably come and go until your baby is born, but in most cases heartburn is no longer a problem after delivery.
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How Is Heartburn Treated
Treatment for pregnant women with heartburn focuses first on making lifestyle changes. These are things like changing what and how you eat. It also focuses on taking nonprescription antacids.
Some doctors may recommend the prescription drug sucralfate, along with lifestyle changes and nonprescription medicines.
The medicines listed below are generally safe during pregnancy. But talk to your doctor before you use them.
- H2 blockers. Examples are cimetidine and famotidine .
- Proton pump inhibitors. Examples are omeprazole and lansoprazole .
Adopt Healthy Eating Habits
Eating too much during pregnancy is a common mistake that can lead to acid reflux and heartburn. Forget the common misconception that you should be eating for two, and instead make sure you take care of your health by eating just enough.
Moreover, if your stomach suddenly becomes too full, heartburn is more likely to occur. Control your indigestion during pregnancy with smaller meals consumed more often throughout the day. Avoid big meals, and especially do not eat too much before going to bed.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Indigestion In Pregnancy
Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. They can include one or more of the following:
- Heartburn. This is a burning sensation which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest up towards the neck.
- Waterbrash. This is a sudden flow of sour-tasting saliva in your mouth.
- Upper abdominal pain or discomfort.
- Pain in the centre of the chest behind the breastbone .
- Feeling sick and being sick .
- Quickly feeling full after eating.
Symptoms tend to occur in bouts which come and go, rather than being present all the time. They may begin at any time during pregnancy but happen more often, or are more severe, in the last three months of pregnancy. As soon as the baby is born, indigestion due to pregnancy usually disappears quickly.
Note: various other problems, associated with pregnancy and unrelated to pregnancy, are sometimes confused with indigestion. For example, pain in the right or left of the upper abdomen is not usually due to indigestion. Excessive vomiting is not usually due to indigestion. If symptoms change, or are not typical, or become severe, or are repeated , you should see your doctor.
Avoiding Indigestion And Heartburn
If your symptoms are mild, its possible that changes to your diet or lifestyle may help prevent indigestion and heartburn. You could try:
- eating smaller meals, more often
- avoiding eating just before bed
- avoiding foods and drinks that you suspect give you heartburn
- raise the head of your bed by 10 to 15cm
- sleep on your left side
If your indigestion is not helped by diet and lifestyle changes, or your symptoms are more severe, your doctor or midwife may suggest that you take a medicine for indigestion that is safe to use during pregnancy. Medicines can neutralise the acid in your stomach, reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach and stop the acid rising into your oesophagus.
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Raised Basal Body Temperature
Many women keep track of their basal, or baseline, body temperature while trying to conceive because it changes throughout the menstrual cycle. The temperature increases after ovulation and may stay higher than usual until the period begins.
A basal body temperature that remains unusually high beyond the typical length of time may indicate pregnancy.
However, these signs are not unique to pregnancy and can be due to another hormonal or lifestyle factor.
Does Heartburn During Pregnancy Mean Baby Has A Lot Of Hair
If youve complained about your pregnancy heartburn in front of friends or family, someone in your social circle has probably proclaimed that baby will definitely be born with a luscious head of hair. So is there any truth to the old adage that pregnant people who have more heartburn give birth to hairier babies? The authors of a study in the journal Birth looked at self-reported perception of heartburn with perceived baby hair volume , and found a significant relationship between heartburn severity and hair volume.”
That said, Purdie explains that babys head of hair doesnt actually cause a mom-to-bes heartburn during pregnancy. According to Purdie, research suggests that the very hormone that causes the relaxation of the esophagus that leads to heartburn also causes hair to grow more rapidly.
If GERD or heartburn in pregnancy is making your experience less than comfortable, talk to your doctor about next steps for pregnancy heartburn relief. And take comfort knowing that for most people, heartburn resolves after they deliver. Then youll have a whole new reason for waking up at night.
About the experts:
Jill Purdie, MD, is an ob-gyn at Northside Womens Specialists in Georgia. She received her medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and completed her residency at Memorial Health University Medical Center.
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