It is common for a pregnant woman to experience some heartburn during her pregnancy. This condition is the result of some weak LES (lower esophageal sphincter) muscles that lie between the esophagus and the stomach.
This ring of the lower esophageal sphincter muscles is supposed to relax when we swallow food, so that it flows into the stomach and, once the food reaches there, these muscles should tighten to keep the food in, while the acids are retained to digest the food.
When the system functions properly, there is no occurrence of heartburn. As with many changes in the body, pregnancy also affects these LES muscles. Hence, it is important to understand the effect of pregnancy on the LES muscles, and the ways to reduce or avoid heartburn where possible.
Occurrence Of Heartburn During Pregnancy
A pregnant mother may have many questions about heartburn during her pregnancy. Most of the time, heartburn occurs at or around the 5th month of pregnancy and may disappear and reappear throughout the pregnancy, until delivery.
As the fetus grows, there is less space in your abdomen with more pressure being put, and fetus pressing against it, causing stomach acids to push up to the esophagus. This causes heartburn, which can be quite discomforting for the pregnant woman; but there are steps for overcoming heartburn or preventing it.
Treating Heartburn During Pregnancy
One way to prevent heartburn during your pregnancy includes watching your weight throughout the pregnancy. It is important not to gain more weight than necessary, to avoid adding even more pressure to your abdominal muscles. Hence, with every pre-natal check up, there is always a weight check to ensure that you are not carrying excess weight, which can spur an onslaught of discomforts for you during your pregnancy.
Another way to prevent heartburn is to wear loose clothing, which will not cling or tighten around your chest or waist. Straight, loose or flowing dresses will lessen the pressure on the abdominal muscles, especially at the waist or abdomen. It is also more comfortable without the garter pressure on your skin. Bending at the knees rather than the waist will ease heartburn occurrence.
Food Related Solutions
Eating small portions throughout the day instead of the normal large meals is a great way to ease heartburn. Chewing more slowly will help the food digest better and decrease the occurrence of heartburn. If you want to have a snack before bedtime, ensure that you have 2-3 hours for digestion, as lying down on a full stomach can cause heartburn.
It is advisable to drink lots of water every day during your pregnancy, but too much liquid at meal times will cause increased pressure on your abdominal muscles, which bring on heartburn.
Chewing a gum after your meal is a good way to avoid possible heartburn, as the chewing action releases the air bubbles that are contributive to the surfacing of heartburn. Chewing gum also stimulates saliva production to neutralize the acid in the stomach. Hence, there are many simple daily routines, which a pregnant woman can perform to ease heartburn occurrences during her pregnancy.