Heartburn is a common concern in pregnancy. Many women experience heartburn at some point during their pregnancy. It is a burning sensation in the lower throat that extends down to the bottom if the breastbone.
Heartburn in pregnancy is caused by the effects of the pregnancy hormones, namely progesterone. Progesterone relaxes and softens smooth muscle, including the oesophagus. The oesophagus is the tube that takes food from out mouth to our stomach, and when it becomes more relaxed, partially digested (acidic) food can move from our stomach back up through our oesophagus and causes a burning sensation.
There’s not a lot we can actually do to cure heartburn without making changes to the hormones of pregnancy that are necessary to maintain a pregnancy and enable a baby to be born. Rather, the approach is to relieve the symptoms and lessen the symptoms by making the food less acidic.
A few tips:
- Eat in an upright position
- Remain upright for at least 30 minutes after eating
- Milk can help to relieve the sensation of heartburn
- Almonds can being some relief too
- Avoid spicy food, especially at night
- Minimise your intake of citrus, tomatoes and coffee
- Have several small, frequent meals
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- There are also over-the-counter antacids that can be helpful when all else fails.