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.
If You Suffer From Heartburn During Pregnancy Your Baby Is Likely To Be Born With A Full Head Of Hair
“Folksy” sounding but true. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore found that when pregnant women reported moderate heartburn, they had hairy newborns 82 percent of the time the majority of heartburn-free women gave birth to bald babies.
Surprised? So was the study’s lead author, Kathleen a. Costigan, R.N., M.P.H., director of the hospital’s Fetal Assessment Center. “I had heard this old wives’ tale hundreds of times and used to tell my patients it was nonsense,” she says. “We undertook this study thinking that we would debunk the myth!” Researchers surmise that higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, the pregnancy hormones that stimulate fetal hair growth, also relax the esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to back up into the esophagus and cause gastric reflux, aka heartburn.
How To Get Rid Of Heartburn
Unfortunately, no matter what you do, youll probably still feel the burn sometimes. Talk to your OB about what medications you can safely take for relief .
You can reduce the risk and severity of heartburn by avoiding triggers like chocolate, coffee, tea, citrus, tomato sauces, spicy stuff and fried foods. It also helps to sleep with your head slightly elevated and to consume minimal fluids with mealsjust be sure to drink plenty of water an hour before and an hour after meals so you dont get dehydrated.
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Heartburn Symptoms During Pregnancy
Not every strange sensation in your body during pregnancy means something negative, something that youve probably learned from your own experience so far. However, the fear of the unknown is completely normal, and youre the best judge when it comes to knowing your body, so make sure you check with your doctor if you start experiencing any strange symptoms.
Since pregnancy, especially in the early months, is likely to leave you feeling bloated, burping and vomiting, which can result in a burning sensation in your throat, those symptoms can easily be mistaken for heartburn. However, heartburn can also come with some other symptoms that will enable you to determine whether youre actually experiencing it.
Pregnant women have reported the following signs connected to heartburn, so be on the watch in case you notice any of them:
The above-mentioned symptoms usually appear quite soon after eating or drinking, but bear in mind they can also occur at other times, so theres not one rule for everyone, all the time.
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Research Study Into This Old Wives Tale
In 2006, US researchers looked into this old wives tale. Their study at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore involved 64 pregnant women.
They asked each of the women to rank how bad their heartburn was during the pregnancy.
Another group of researchers looked at the amount of hair on the heads of their newborn babies. They also ranked them using photographs.
The researchers found that of the 28 women who had heartburn, 23 had babies with plentiful hair.
The researchers think they know why this happened.
Hormones are released during pregnancy to relax a muscle in the stomach. Researchers think that this hormone may also control a babys hair growth.
But thats just one study. Whether others will report similar findings remains to be seen.
But one thing is for sure, for most women their heartburn is hair today, gone tomorrow after the birth.
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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.
Ginger And Acupressure Relieve Morning Sickness
Answer: Old Wives Tale
Bad news for the 70 percent of pregnant women who experience nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: There is no truly reliable treatment for morning sickness. Authors of a Cochrane systematic review analyzed 27 studies involving more than 4,000 pregnant women and found that not a single commonly used remedy, including ginger, acupuncture, acupressure, vitamin B6 and anti-nausea drugs, could be deemed effective.
we found little evidence to support these popular therapies, says study co-author Dónal OMathúna, Ph.d., a senior lecturer at Dublin City University school of Nursing in ireland. But this doesnt mean you shouldnt try them . Some of these therapies might work for some women, OMathúna says. Plus, the placebo effect can be very powerful.
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Heartburn Symptoms And Pre
If your heartburn symptoms don’t go away with medicine, it’s important to see your doctor as it may be a sign of something more serious, such as pre-eclampsia. A pregnant woman with pre-eclampsia usually has high blood pressure and problems with her kidneys. Pre-eclampsia could also seriously affect a woman’s liver, blood and brain. Any pregnant woman can experience pre-eclampsia â almost 1 in 20 Australian women will develop it.
Because pre-eclampsia is dangerous for both you and your baby, you should let your doctor know if your heartburn medicine is not working. This is especially important if you’re also feeling very unwell or you have:
- sudden swelling of your hands, feet or face
- a headache that doesn’t go away with simple painkillers
- problems with your eyesight such as blurring or seeing flashing lights or dots
- a strong pain below your ribs
Find out more about how pre-eclampsia is treated here.
What Are Early Signs Of Pregnancy
Your symptoms likely wont begin until your fourth week. This is when you may experience mild blood spotting and cramping and when you can expect to miss your period. But, if you are asking yourself, How do I know if Im pregnant, see if you can relate to any of these early indications:
1. Missed Period
According to an American Pregnancy Association survey, approximately 29 percent of women claimed their first sign of pregnancy was a missed period. Missing your period is a common symptom of pregnancy and it often leads women to do a pregnancy test. You may notice some bleeding even if youre pregnant, but it will usually be lighter and shorter than your normal menstrual period.
2. Urinating Frequently
A couple weeks after you conceive, you may have to urinate more. This is because of your pregnancy hormone hCG. This hormone causes an increase in blood flow to your kidneys, which helps them eliminate waste from your body more efficiently. As your uterus is growing more quickly the pressure on your bladder is greater. The amount of urine storage space you have decreases which causes you to urinate more often.
3. Swollen, Tender Breasts
4. Nausea and Sometimes Vomiting
Nausea was the first pregnancy indication 25 percent of women experienced. Although morning sickness doesnt usually hit women until around a month of becoming pregnant, nausea is often felt earlier. Its thought that your pregnancy hormones are what cause nausea, but it isnt quite clear.
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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.
Causes Of Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn in pregnancy may happen because of changing hormone levels, which can affect the muscles of the digestive tract and how your body handles different foods.
Pregnancy hormones can cause your lower esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach acids to flow back up into your esophagus. Also, as your baby grows, your enlarged uterus can crowd the abdomen, pushing stomach acids upward. Although its rare, gallstones can also cause heartburn during pregnancy.
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Consider Avoiding Certain Foods Drinks And Large Meals
Some foods and drinks may make reflux worse in some people. It is difficult to be certain to what extent specific foods contribute to the problem. Let common sense be your guide. If it seems that a food is causing symptoms, try avoiding it for a while to see if symptoms improve. Foods and drinks that have been suspected of making symptoms worse in some people include:
- Alcoholic drinks.
Also, avoid large meals if they bring on symptoms. Some women find that eating smaller meals more frequently is helpful.
Why Is Heartburn So Common In Pregnancy
âApproximately half of pregnant women experience heartburn at some point during their pregnancy,â says Dr. Merhi. âHeartburn occurs because pregnancy hormones cause the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax which allows stomach acids to go up and enter the esophagus. Also, the growing uterus pushes on the stomach causing the acid to go upwards instead of staying in the stomach.â Between the looser muscles and the growing baby, heartburn is kind of inevitable.
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How To Cope With Heartburn During Pregnancy 13 Steps
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Medications For Heartburn During Pregnancy
Usually, antacids that are considered safe during pregnancy are suggested by doctors. Dont skip on your calcium tablets as they help relieve the symptoms of heartburn.
If your body is not responding well to antacids, its better to inform the doctor about it so they can suggest some other medicines.
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When To See Your Doctor
If you are suffering from persistent heartburn that isnt relieved by any of the natural methods above, you may need to take medication. However, before taking any tablets during pregnancy, its advisable to speak to your midwife, GP or a pharmacist for advice. Whilst the right antacid may ease symptoms, some may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron, or interact with other medications.
Doctors also recommend avoiding antacids that contain magnesium during the third trimester of pregnancy, as this mineral may interfere with contractions.
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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Early Pregnancy Signs: Heartburn Gas Tender Breasts And More
Think you might be pregnant? Here are the most common pregnancy signs in the first month.
When youre hoping to be pregnant and you havent missed your period yetor its a day or two lateits pretty easy to interpret nearly any physical symptom as a sign of pregnancy. Its not uncommon to feel symptoms in the first week or two of your pregnancyor even earlier. Some women experience pregnancy symptoms from the moment of conception, says Karen Nordahl, a general practitioner and obstetrician in Vancouver and co-author of Fit to Deliver. Usually, this is second- or third-time moms who remember a particular sensation, such as increased gas. But many first-time moms miss these early pregnancy signs because the very first symptoms arent necessarily the ones we associate with having a baby on the way. So, yes, while some women experience nausea or hypersensitivity to smells, these seven symptoms are among the most common during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
How To Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heartburn During Pregnancy
The top way to identify heartburn during pregnancy is that burning sensation in your chest, thanks to the acid backup. But Dr. Gray says thats not the only sign of acid reflux.5 You could also experience:
- An acidic taste in your mouth or the back of your throat
- Slight cough or hoarseness due to acid affecting your vocal cords
- Worsening symptoms of burning or pain when lying down or bending over
- Painful or difficulty swallowing
Many pregnant people also report feeling nauseous, Dr. Gray adds, and some may even vomit as a result. Thats why heartburn can sometimes be mistaken for morning sickness, particularly in the first trimester.
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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