What causes Heartburn (or Gerd) in Pregnancy

If you were one of those women who enjoyed the sarson da saag from the corner Punjabi Dhaaba, you may not be a stranger to heartburn, but heartburn during pregnancy can cause you more discomfort than you are used to. This symptom is usually harmless but can be distressing if you experience it regularly. This can begin as a mild burning sensation in your chest that extends all the way to your throat. In pregnancy, it is caused by an elevation in your hormone levels along with the physical changes that accompany your body’s new role.

Women produce large amounts of progesterone which tends to relax the muscles of the uterus. The same hormone is also responsible for relaxing the esophagus which acts as a barrier to your stomach acids from getting to your throat. At later stages of you pregnancy your baby gets bigger and things start getting crowded in your tummy pushing stomach acids northward towards your throat. Most women experience heartburn starting from the second trimester all the way to delivery. Given this fact, eliminating heartburn (also called Gerd) is a near impossibility, but there are several things you can do to minimize discomfort caused by heartburn.

Treatment for Gerd during Pregnancy

gerd and heartburnFor starters avoid spicy starters, appetizers that is. In fact it would be a good idea to avoid almost all spicy foods. Spicy foods tend to increase acid production in your stomach. Other foods that cause high acid production include – carbonated drinks, coffee, chocolate, acidic juices such as lime juice, fried and fatty foods.

Other things you can do to minimize heartburn are – avoid large meals. Eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals like you used to before becoming pregnant. It is extremely important to stay well hydrated during pregnancy, most doctors recommend 10 glasses of water a day. However do not drink large quantities of water during meals. Sip your water throughout the day.

Avoid eating a meal two to three hours prior to your bedtime. Allowing your food to digest well prior to hitting the sack, considerably lowers your likelihood of getting heartburn during the night. Another effective solution to avoiding nighttime heartburn is to prop your head and shoulder up. You can do this but putting a couple of extra pillows under your shoulder and head or perhaps by elevating the pillow end of your bed up three to four inches.

Researchers have found other sources of heartburn too. For instance women who put on excessive weight during pregnancy tend to suffer from heartburn more so than others. Another source of heartburn is tight clothing, especially around the waist.

Here is a trick that always works – chew a piece of gum right after your meal. Chewing gum stimulates your salivary glands producing saliva, which is a natural acid neutralizer.

Many women who follow all these suggestions might still suffer from heartburn. It is perfectly safe to take readily available antacids, especially those that contain magnesium and calcium. Always consult with your doctor before taking any form of medication as some of the added ingredients such as sodium, aluminum and even aspirin could be harmful to you and/or your child.