Pregnancy hormones relax the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus, making it slack. This means that acid from your stomach can escape into your gullet where it causes a burning sensation. It is usually worse in the last 12 weeks of pregnancy as the womb begins to push the stomach upwards.
“After weeks of heartburn, day and night, I prayed for the nausea to return instead. Nothing seemed to ease it. An older woman told me that the baby would have had lots of hair – she was right! Our baby was born with a mop of hair. However, it took two days for the heartburn to go.”
“I had a bit of heartburn near the end and tried Gaviscon, but almost threw it up. I resorted to using a syringe to get it past my taste buds – hard to do when everyone is laughing at you!”
“I had terrible heartburn for the last 10 weeks of the pregnancy. For some reason one of the few foods that didn’t cause me heartburn was spicy Indian food!”
Many women find heartburn the worst aspect of their pregnancy, but it does usually stop when the baby is born -though sometimes not immediately!
- Have small frequent meals. Soups and other liquid foods may not irritate as much as solids. Chew solid food well.
- Avoid very spicy and fatty foods and find the foods that trigger your heartburn - e.g. citrus, tomatoes,chocolate…
- Avoid drinking icy water, particularly before you eat. In fact avoiding liquids while you are eating can be helpful, or just take small sips. Save topping up on your water intake for between meals.
- Drink peppermint tea, or flat ginger ale.
- Eliminate coffee and drinks containing caffeine (such as colas) and carbonated drinks.
- Avoid bending over, especially after a meal – kneel down to pick things up, or bend from the knees.
- Sleep propped up on a big pile of pillows (“V” shaped pillows are excellent for preventing you from slipping down the bed while pregnant and are good support later when you are feeding your baby)
- Sleeping on your left side can help. Apparently this is the way your stomach empties!
- Try a glass of milk or ice cream.
- Eat ginger biscuits.
- Chew gum.
- A plain ice-pop from the freezer can be soothing.
- Antacids can be very helpful. Find one suitable for pregnant women.
- Some women find that reducing their intake of bread and other yeasty foods helps.
- Before bed, sip a glass of warm milk or eat a small amount of natural yoghurt.
- Try this exercise to help digestion after a meal (though maybe not in the office canteen!). Sit cross-legged, keeping your arms straight and by your sides. Raise and lower them quickly, bringing the back of your hands together over your head. Repeat this several times.
- One acupressure point for heartburn is located on your breastbone, just in line with the base of your cleavage between your breasts. Apply firm pressure to this point for about 30-45 seconds.
“The homeopathic remedy Nat mur”
“Orange ice-pops and cool-pops”
“Chewing on almonds”
“Aloe vera juice”
“Milk with a bit of bread soda added”
“Not drinking with meals”
“Lots of lettuce!”