Having a baby is one of the happiest times in a couple’s lives – but for many women, there are ‘downsides’ to being pregnant – like suffering from heartburn after almost every meal.
Old Wives’ Tales suggest that heartburn is a sign that your baby will be born with a full head of hair. There may be some truth to this, according to health studies, but nothing concrete has been proven.
True or not, heartburn can be quite uncomfortable and painful. Luckily, there are several home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy that can bring the joy back to being pregnant! Here are just a few ideas to keep heartburn and acid reflux at bay:
- Eat slower: Just because you’re eating for two, doesn’t mean you have to eat twice as fast. Take small bites, chew thoroughly and take the time to enjoy your meals. As a general rule, it should take you 15-20 minutes to finish a meal.
- Sleep with your upper body elevated: Keeping your head and upper body slightly elevated prevents the acid from rising up through your esophagus, ensuring you get a restful night’s sleep. There are quality foam pads you can use that support your upper body. Sleeping on your left side will also help keep heartburn attacks to a minimum.
- Chew gum or suck on mint candy after a meal: Chewing gum and sucking on mints help generate saliva, which in turn helps neutralize acid that builds up in the esophagus.
- Drink milk/eat yogurt: These can act as a coating and minimize symptoms. If you are lactose intolerant, choose lactose-free products.
- Keep some ginger on hand: While not approved by the FDA, ginger has been used for many years as a way to calm heartburn, as well as ease stomach irritations and vomiting.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently: Try making your meals smaller and don’t lie down right after eating. Make your last meal of the day earlier in the evening.
Foods to avoid
The best way to avoid heartburn is to stay away from certain foods, at least while you’re pregnant. These include:
- Coffee and tea
- Citrus foods, such as oranges and lemons
- Fried and fatty foods
When to see a doctor
If your home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy aren’t working, or the symptoms are getting worse, it may be time to see your doctor. Discuss your concerns with your health care provider, especially if you’re experiencing the following:
- Severe chest pain and/or severe heartburn
- Your symptoms don’t improve with lifestyle or diet changes
- Your heartburn is accompanied by a headache, fever, vomiting or nausea
- Have a hard time swallowing or feel as if you have food stuck in your throat
- Start losing weight, without trying
Women who are under 5’5” may experience more severe heartburn symptoms as the baby grows and your esophagus gets ‘pushed up’. This can cause a more serious condition known as Acid Reflux.
If you experience severe burning sensations and wake up in the middle of the night coughing and choking, see your doctor right away, as you could require medical treatment.