Heartburn And Indigestion In Pregnancy
Heartburn causes a burning feeling in the chest or throat. Its uncomfortable, but is not usually harmful to pregnant women or their babies.
8 out of 10 pregnant women experience heartburn. You’re most likely to get heartburn in the third trimester of your pregnancy.
The symptoms of heartburn include:
- a burning feeling in your chest or throat
- acid coming up into your mouth
- feeling sick
Does Water Help Acid Reflux
Drinking water during the later stages of digestion can reduce acidity and GERD symptoms. Often, there are pockets of high acidity, between a pH or 1 and 2, just below the esophagus. By drinking tap or filtered water a little while after a meal, you can dilute the acid there, which can result in less heartburn.
Why Treat Heartburn And Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Heartburn and acid reflux are traditionally considered innocuous because they are common in pregnancy and are usually self-limiting. However, a recent study suggests that GERD is associated with an increase in the severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy , which can have serious negative effects on a womans quality of life. In a prospective cohort study conducted by the Motherisk Program, 194 pregnant women with NVP and heartburn or acid reflux were compared with 188 pregnant women with NVP who did not have heartburn or acid reflux. The 2 groups were assessed for severity of NVP with the pregnancy-unique quantification of emesis and nausea score, which is a validated scoring tool based on frequency and duration of nausea, vomiting, and retching in the past 24 hours, with a high score indicating more severe NVP. Quality of life was measured by the well-being score, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. Forty-eight percent of women in the control group had severe NVP according to the PUQE, compared with 75% in the group with heartburn and acid reflux. The mean well-being score in the control group was significantly higher than that in the group with heartburn and acid reflux .
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Can Acid Reflux During Pregnancy Hurt My Unborn Baby
Dr. Johnson assures that simple reflux on its own is not harmful to fetuses. It is only when there is a drastic effect on nutritional input that GERD during pregnancy could become a problem. If symptoms are preventing you from eating the recommended number of calories, it is important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux And Dyspepsia Of Pregnancy
Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. They can include one or more of the following:
- Heartburn. This is a burning feeling 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 are usually more frequent or severe in the last third of pregnancy. As soon as the baby is born, dyspepsia due to pregnancy quickly goes.
Note: various other problems, both associated with pregnancy and unrelated to pregnancy, are sometimes confused with dyspepsia. For example, pain in the right or left of the upper abdomen is not usually due to dyspepsia. Excessive vomiting is not usually due to dyspepsia. If symptoms change, or are not typical, or become severe, or are repeated , you should see your doctor.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
Heartburn feels like a strong burning sensation in the chest and can be extremely uncomfortable. It is also known as acid reflux and indigestion .
Heartburn can show itself as a discomfort , bloating, wind, burping and nausea. Youll be able to compare notes with a lot of other mum friends as up to eight out of ten pregnant women get heartburn .
Why It Heartburn Happens
Heartburn is common in pregnancy due to the hormonal changes that happen during this period, as well as being caused by the baby’s development, which can cause stomach compression, which can make the contents of the stomach to go back up the esophagus towards the mouth, leading to heartburn symptoms.
In addition, heartburn during pregnancy can also be caused by your diet. Thus, it is recommend to avoid eating fatty foods, foods with caffeine, and avoid taking in liquids during meals. In some cases, the doctor may also recommend some type of medication, such as Dimethicone to help with digestion.
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Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Bringing changes in the lifestyle habits can work wonders for cases of heartburn and they are the safest methods for both baby and mother. Mentioned below are some of the steps that can be inculcated in daily life during pregnancy period:
- Break the intake of meals into smaller quantities and frequent durations. Eat leisurely and chew the food thoroughly. Drink water after each meal.
- Dont take food before 3 hours of going to bed.
- Avoid taking those beverages and foods that catalyzes heartburn.
- Dont sleep immediately after a meal and try to stay upright for an hour at least .A brisk walk may encourage digestion.
- It is always advisable to wear comfortable clothes instead of tight fits so that undue pressure is not created on the stomach.
- Try to maintain healthy weight.
- Keep the head slightly at an elevated position while sleeping. Pillows that are Wedge-shaped help to slant the upper body in upward direction and thus helping in keeping the stomach acid in its original position.
- Avoid sleeping on the right side as it will position the stomach higher than the esophagus as it may lead to acid reflux.
- Drink one glass full of milk added with some honey or a honey added chamomile tea once the acid reflux symptoms start.
So follow these remedies and avoid acid reflux during pregnancy.
What Makes It Better
For most women, things that help reduce acid production or prevent reux are helpful in avoiding the discomfort of heartburn. Here are tips that may help:
Avoid classic spicy foods, as well as those with lots of fat or grease. Many people recommend avoiding citrus and chocolate, as well.
Eat multiple, small meals spread throughout the day, much like grazing, instead of three big meals.
Try elevating the head of your bed by several inches, and wait a while after eating before going to bed or lying down.
Some women find that its better to drink fluids between meals, rather than with a meal. This can increase the amount of contents in the stomach.
If your symptoms do not improve after the above recommended diet and lifestyle changes are in place, talk with your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medicines. Antacids are available as chewable tablets and liquids. They work by coating the lining of the esophagus and stomach and neutralizing stomach acid. Heartburn medicines called H2-blockers work by reducing the amount of acid made by your stomach. Although most of these are considered safe in pregnancy, as with all medicines, these should be avoided in the first trimester.
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Does Acid Reflux In Pregnancy Mean Baby Will Have Hair
MYTH OR TRUTH: Heartburn means a hairy baby. Answer: TRUTH!
Heartburn usually strikes in the third trimester and is due to estrogen causing the esophageal sphincter to relax, which allows stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. Estrogen appears to be responsible for hair growth in the developing baby.
Can Lifestyle Changes Prevent Pregnancy Heartburn
Heres some good news: Although heartburn is one of the biggest complaints during pregnancy, its also one of the easiest to treat for many people, says Dr. Ruiz.
Lifestyle changes can make a big difference. For example, eating smaller and more frequent meals may be enough for relief. This helps the stomach expand less, potentially reducing any problematic pressure against the lower esophageal sphincter. As an added bonus, the approach tends to be better for keeping energy levels consistent, Dr. Ruiz says. If heartburn at night is a problemand even if its notits helpful to avoid eating within two to three hours before bed, he adds.
The kind of advice given to non-pregnant heartburn sufferers about diet applies here, too. That means staying away from highly acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, and onions, as well as spicy choices that may kick off more acid production. Dr. Gray says three options that tend to exacerbate heartburn during pregnancy are chocolate, caffeine, and carbonated beverages.
Another hack: Sleep with your upper body elevated slightly7, so its at least above the height of your stomach. You can prop up the top of your bed, use an adjustable bed frame, or sleep on a wedge pillow. That may be difficult as your pregnancy progresses and you cant lie on your back, but if youre in the first or second trimester, it may be a way to get relief from nighttime heartburn.
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When To Talk To Your Doctor About Heartburn During Pregnancy
Thankfully, if heartburn wasnt an issue for you before pregnancy, it tends to resolve after childbirth. But even so, that doesnt mean you need to ride it out until delivery.
Even if your heartburn is simply annoying and not intense, dont hesitate to tell your doctor about it, says Dr. Gray. Thats because it can become more serious if its left untreated, so what starts as mildly uncomfortable pain might cause you to eventually avoid eating enough because you dont want to deal with the heartburn, she notes. Thats not great for you or for your baby.
I wish women would stop struggling at home and saying they dont want to bug their doctors or midwives with something minor like this, she says. Were here to help. More than that, its easier to treat heartburn when its not much of a problem than it is when it becomes severe. So bring it up and get some relief.
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:
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Does Water Help With Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Water can be a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to affecting GERD symptoms in pregnancy. Dr. Johnson notes that some women find that drinking water after a meal helps. It is thought that it may reduce the level of acidity in the stomach. However, Dr. Ross suggests saving the water for non-meal times, as drinking large amounts while eating may fill up the stomach and increase the risk of acid reflux and heartburn.
Because stomach volume is reduced due to the growing uterus, consuming too much water can provoke GERD symptoms. Any extra water you drink can overwhelm the lower esophageal sphincter, causing uncomfortable symptoms. In other words, drink water in moderation, preferably after or between meals, to avoid provoking symptoms.
Antacids You Shouldnt Take
You should always read the labels and ask your doctor before using OTC medicines, herbs, or home remedies while youre pregnant. Even though it may seem like something should be safe, it isnt always. Some conventional treatments for heartburn that you shouldnt use during pregnancy are:
- Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Products containing aspirin
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Medicines For Indigestion And Heartburn
Medicines for indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy include:
- antacids to neutralise the acid in your stomach
- alginates to relieve indigestion caused by acid reflux by stopping the acid in your stomach coming back up your gullet
You may only need to take antacids and alginates when you start getting symptoms. However, your GP may recommend taking them before symptoms come on for example, before a meal or before bed.
If you’re taking iron supplements as well as antacids, do not take them at the same time. Antacids can stop iron from being absorbed by your body.
If antacids and alginates do not improve your symptoms, your GP may prescribe a medicine to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. 2 that are widely used in pregnancy and not known to be harmful to an unborn baby are:
Can I Take Over
Nonprescription heartburn relievers, such as Tums® or Maalox®, can help you feel better. But talk to your healthcare provider before taking antacids. They may contain high sodium levels, which can cause you to retain water. Some also have aluminum in them, which isnt safe to consume during pregnancy. Your provider can recommend an antacid thats safe during pregnancy.
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When Will It End
Heartburn symptoms are usually mild and manageable. Tell your healthcare provider if your heartburn is severe, if you spit up blood, or have dark-colored bowel movements. This is a sign of blood in your digestive tract. Fortunately, heartburn usually ends with the birth of your baby and your body goes back to its nonpregnant state.
What Treatments Help With Pregnancy Heartburn Relief
Youve cut out chocolate , propped up for sleep, cut out the tomato sauce and peppermint, but the heartburn is still there. So, what now? Whats the best medication to take for heartburn while pregnant?
The next step is to try an over-the-counter antacid like Tums, Maalox, or Gaviscon, says Dr. Ruiz. They work by neutralizing stomach acid8, so even if it does come up, it wont burn. With lifestyle tweaks, an occasional antacid tends to help about 70% of his patients, and its considered a safe, conservative method.
If the issue is still burning strong, thats when you switch over to the next level, he says, which means a low dose of Pepcid, which is part of a class of drugs known as H2 blockers. These work by reducing the amount of stomach acid thats secreted by the glands in the lining of your stomach.9 This is also considered safe to use during pregnancy but its best to try other approaches first if your heartburn is mild, says Dr. Ruiz.
A small percentage of people will still experience problems past this point, and thats when prescription options like proton pump inhibitors might be considered, which block the production of stomach acid, Dr. Gray says. The most common in pregnancy is Protonix, which the Food and Drug Administration has classified10 as a category B drug, meaning its safe to take during pregnancy.
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Get Treated For Acid Reflux
Need specific medication for acid reflux? Get in touch with us at Gastro Center NJ to learn how to manage acid reflux during pregnancy.
With our expertise treating digestive problems, were dedicated to giving you a more pleasant pregnancy by creating a treatment plan that will soothe your discomfort.
What Is Heartburn Again
Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. Instead, the burning sensation is caused by powerful stomach acid that backs up into your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat and stomach, according to the Cleveland Clinic2.
Typically, when you swallow something, your lower esophageal sphinctera ring of muscles that act as a valve at the end of your esophaguswill relax to give food or liquid a clear path to your stomach. Then, if that valve is working properly, it will tighten back up so the contents of your stomach stay where they should. But if your lower esophageal sphincter is malfunctioning for some reason, those acids can bubble their way back up into your esophagus, causing a burning sensation. This is known as acid reflux, and heartburn is a telltale symptom of the condition.
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How To Prevent Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
This article was co-authored by Carrie Noriega, MD. Dr. Noriega is a Board Certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist and medical writer in Colorado. She specializes in womens health, rheumatology, pulmonology, infectious disease, and gastroenterology. She received her MD from the Creighton School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska and completed her residency at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2005.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 13,703 times.
Recurring bouts of acid reflux during pregnancy is very common because the higher levels of estrogen and progesterone cause the lower esophageal sphincter to weaken and allow stomach acid to splash into the esophagus.XResearch source Furthermore, the growing baby puts pressure on the stomach and pushes digestive acid into the esophagus sort of like a “double whammy” effect for pregnant women. Both conditions resolve once the baby is born, but learning how to help combat heartburn during pregnancy is important for comfort and quality of life.