One of the most common problems linked with pregnancy is the presence of heartburn, which causes discomfort to many expecting mothers. The burning sensation in the central region of the chest and the throat has nothing to do with the heart and normally occurs in the third or last trimester of pregnancy.
One of the most important symptoms of heartburn is the lingering aftertaste of the consumed food and an acidic and sour taste in the mouth. This heartburn is usually caused by the passing of the acids from the stomach into the esophagus or the food pipe. The position of the stomach is displaced in the last stages of pregnancy by the enlarging uterus and this prevents the valve placed between the stomach and esophagus, from stopping the acids that pass upwards into the food pipe.
The increased production of progesterone in the body during pregnancy also causes the valve to relax and the acid that is thrown upwards, leads to acidity, heartburn and irritation in the linings of the food pipe. Mentioned below are some of the best ways of getting relief from heartburn during pregnancy.
Tips to Get Relief from Heartburn During Pregnancy
Keep A Watch On What You Eat
It is important to keep a firm watch on the food that is consumed during this period of pregnancy. Fatty, deep fried and spicy food items should be completely avoided, as they tend to make the lower esophageal sphincters weak. This leads to the flowing of the acids into the esophagus and an increase in the production of the same.
According to experts, chocolates, soft drinks caffeinated beverages are also primary causes of heartburn and should not be consumed. Prevention is definitely better than cure in this case and the best way to prevent heartburn is to stay away from food stuffs that cause it.
Alteration In The Sleeping Position
One of the simplest ways of avoiding heartburn is by letting gravity work for your benefit. Propping the head and shoulders, at a level higher than the feet, will prevent the reflux of acid into the esophagus.
The elevated position will also allow easier breathing in the third trimester with the enlarged uterus squashing the lungs.
Eating Small Meals And Spacing Them Out
It is necessary to take six small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals. The spacing of meals across the whole day prevents excessive acid formation and morning sickness. The last meal of the day should be taken at least three hours before going to sleep, to avoid late night discomfort due to acidity and nausea.
Lying Down After A Meal – Do’s And Don’ts
The fatigue levels during pregnancy are much higher than during normal times and thus increases the requirement for longer periods of rest. It is important to avoid lying down for an hour after a meal. Sitting up straight after a meal prevents the stomach acids from coming up and reduces heartburn.
If it becomes difficult to avoid lying, then try to lie on your left side to prevent the reflux of acids from the stomach into the esophagus. The natural placement of the digestive system makes it easier for the acids and contents to pass from the stomach into the intestines when a pregnant lady lies on her left. The levels of blood and nutrients that reach the baby through the placenta, also increases in the left lying position. A pillow can be placed between the bent legs and knees for extra support and comfort.
Avoid Tight Fitting Clothes
It is extremely difficult to fit into your normal pre-pregnancy clothes with changes in the constitution and weight. Tight fitting clothes tend to compress the stomach and the abdomen and this releases the acids into the food pipe.Wearing loose and flowing clothes will not only aid in breathing but will also reduce heartburn and discomfort.
Drinking 8-10 Glasses Of Water
However, the intake of large quantities of water should be avoided during meal times as it leads to the distension of the belly and reflux of stomach acids into the food pipe by creating pressure on the stomach-esophagus valve.
If acidity and heartburn refuses to settle down , then you can stock yourself with your favourite flavors of cheweing gum. Salivation is encouraged with the chewing of gum and the fluid flowing down into the food pipe keeps the acid under control. It is a good idea to chew some gum after every meal, as the bicarbonates present in them help in neutralizing any gastroesophagul acids. The chewing of gum also helps in keeping the breath and mouth fresher for a longer time after meals.
Eat Yogurt After a Meal
Eating fresh yogurt after every meal or whenever there is heartburn will reduce the acidity levels and burning sensation in the upper portions of the abdomen. The probiotics present in the yogurt help in neutralizing the stomach acids that pass into the food pipe. The bacterium that helps in the production of yogurt also helps in keeping the dangerous bacteria at bay. Cold milk or ice cream can also be taken instead of yogurt to reduce heartburn during pregnancy.
Papaya is a rich storehouse of various digestive enzymes and helps in soothing heartburn and preventing acidity and other stomach problems. Pregnant women can have papaya in any form and it is absolutely safe to consume the same during all stages of pregnancy. Papaya can be eaten fresh, canned, dried, juiced or in the form of a tablet, to aid the digestion process and reduce heartburn.
Other Home Remedies
Some common home remedies that help in the reduction of heartburn during pregnancy are fennel tea and raw ginger. Some home makers also suggest a glass full of water with some baking soda for dousing the burning sensation in the throat and the chest. Half a glass of cold milk, mixed with an equal quantity of water and some sugar, can be sipped to lower down the acidity levels that cause heartburn.
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