- Heartburn in Pregnancy
- Jan 25, 2010
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Classroom: Causes Of Heartburn - Indigestion Symptoms & Home Remedies
Heartburn in Pregnancy
There is not a woman alive who hasn't complained of heartburn during pregnancy. Consider yourself lucky if you were able to sidetrack this fire breathing dragon. Also called acid reflux, or acid indigestion, it can start in the first three months and last up to the ninth month of pregnancy.
Hormone level changes can bring on acid reflux, as well as the foods that are eaten. In addition, the changes a woman's body goes through in pregnancy are attributed to the painful burning in your chest and throat.
The fetus and uterus grow at phenomenal rates during pregnancy, to cause pressure on the abdomen and the esophageal sphincter. This pressure causes the sphincter to malfunction, which enables stomach acids to backtrack into the esophagus to cause heartburn.
The hormone progesterone rises and falls during pregnancy causing a softening of the sphincter leading to inadequate closing. This also results in stomach acids to creep back into the esophagus to cause the burning sensation of acid reflux. This has been proven my many studies conducted on this issue.
Purpose of the LES:
The esophageal sphincter opens to let food pass into the stomach, then closes to prevent the stomach acids from meeting up with the esophagus. A sphincter that fails to close properly, admits stomach acids to come in contact with the esophageal lining, which can cause damage and irritation if not treated.
How to avoid heartburn:
Keep your clothing loose and none restrictive. Tight clothing adds pressure to the abdomen which can result in acid reflux.Don't eat too close to bed time. Wait at least three hours after eating before lying down or going to bed for the night.Eat smaller meals and eat more frequently. The focus is to not gorge yourself on food to cause you to have heartburn.Elevate the head of the bed about 4-6 inches. This will help reduce the likelihood of stomach acids reaching the LES.
Pregnant woman who get a low level of heartburn can ease symptoms by avoiding foods that cause it and making some lifestyle changes. Knowing what foods cause acid reflux can help prevent it's occurrence. These foods can include:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Fried fatty foods
- Sweet desserts
These foods can cause heartburn in pregnant women, particularly when eating them on an empty stomach. Different foods can cause diverse reactions in different people. To know what triggers your heartburn, keep a daily diary of the foods you are eating to identify what is causing it.
- H2 Antagonists
- Proton pump inhibitors
Always clear medications with your health care provider before taking any medications that were not prescribed for you. If you are pregnant, you want to make sure that any over the counter drugs you take for heartburn will not harm your unborn baby.
by Barb Hicks, RN
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.
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