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Heartburn during pregnancy: how to get rid of it at home


One of the unpleasant phenomena of the beautiful period of pregnancy is heartburn, which appears in most expectant mothers. This is a feeling of burning and discomfort in the chest and throat, which can be accompanied by vomiting and nausea. In this article, we will explore why this happens and what to do if nothing helps with heartburn during pregnancy.

What causes heartburn?

In simple terms, heartburn is a condition in which the contents of the stomach rise in the opposite direction – into the esophagus. According to a study published in BMJ Clin Evid, 17% to 45% of all pregnant women suffer from heartburn.

In early pregnancy, women experience heartburn due to an increase in the level of progesterone. Such a surge in hormones leads to relaxation of the valve in the stomach leading back into the esophagus. Thus, an increased amount of stomach acid enters the throat and causes a burning sensation.

Heartburn during pregnancy in the second trimester and up to the birth of the baby is associated with an increase in the volume of the uterus, which puts pressure on the stomach and causes reflux of the stomach contents.

Periodic severe heartburn during pregnancy is not dangerous, but the chronic nature of the phenomenon may indicate serious problems, including gastritis or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Therefore, if constant bouts of heartburn during pregnancy in the first trimester or other trimesters are a concern, this should be reported to the specialist who is managing the pregnancy. They will provide competent advice to the pregnant woman, taking into account her medical history.

How does heartburn manifest in pregnant women?

Symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy include:

  • Pain under the ribs;
  • A feeling of stomach tightening;
  • A burning sensation in the chest or throat after eating;
  • Presence of hot, acidic, or salty liquid at the back of the throat;
  • Difficulty swallowing.

Chronic heartburn during pregnancy may be associated with the consumption of certain types of foods. Let’s consider what can provoke this unpleasant phenomenon. Main provocateurs of heartburn So, what foods cause heartburn in pregnant women? They include:

  • Spicy foods;
  • Citrus fruits;
  • Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, pickles, and onions;
  • Vinegar and salad dressings;
  • Fruit juices;
  • Fatty meat;
  • Caffeine;
  • Carbonated drinks.

Eliminating these foods from your diet is the first step towards success. Next, we will discuss what to do at home for heartburn during pregnancy.

Effective remedies for heartburn during pregnancy

So, what helps with heartburn during pregnancy at home? Take note of the following life hacks!

Drink water

Consume at least 2 liters of water per day. However, do not drink it all at once. Drinking a large amount of water at once has the opposite effect: it increases the risk of heartburn, especially if a large fetus is pushing the stomach upwards. Drink water in small sips throughout the day. Regular water intake maintains hydration, which reduces heartburn.

Include milk in your diet

Another good way to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy is to consume cow’s milk. If you have lactose intolerance or simply do not consume animal-origin milk, try almond or rice milk as an alternative. And if you add a little honey to warm milk, the burning sensation in the chest will disappear much faster.

Eat grapefruit

If you don’t know what to do for heartburn during pregnancy in the third trimester or earlier, try adding grapefruit to your diet. This may seem counterintuitive because grapefruit is quite acidic. However, this fruit stimulates bile production. When grapefruit is digested in the gastrointestinal tract, it becomes alkaline. Foods with high alkaline content are beneficial for digestion and also prevent flatulence and bloating.

Chew Gum

Chewing gum stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize stomach acid and relieve symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy. Just don’t chew for too long – this can aggravate acid reflux.

Apply Aloe Vera

This natural remedy can be obtained from fresh plant leaves. You can also buy this gel at a pharmacy or store. Apply the gel locally to your chest, throat, and stomach. Aloe vera successfully reduces symptoms of acid reflux and eliminates the feeling of heartburn.

Suck on Mint Candies

Always keep a mint candy with you. It not only helps with heartburn but also becomes an indispensable helper in combating morning sickness.

Drink Coconut Water

Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and alkaline minerals, including potassium. It is potassium that contributes to pH balance and acts as an excellent natural acid neutralizer. You have probably already seen this product on store shelves, so it won’t be difficult to find it.

How to treat heartburn during pregnancy if home remedies don’t help?

All options for drug therapy, including those suggested by the media, should be discussed with your treating physician. They will select the optimal remedy and dosage of the medication. For safety purposes, we will only list groups of medications for heartburn that can be prescribed to pregnant women by obstetricians-gynecologists:

  • Antacids: these are medications that reduce the level of acidity in the stomach.
  • Prokinetics: help speed up the movement of food through the stomach and intestines.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): these medications help reduce acidity in the stomach, reducing the amount of acid that enters the esophagus and causes heartburn.

Doctors prescribe these groups of medications taking into account individual characteristics of the body, particularly the digestive system and potential risks.

Unfortunately, heartburn is an inevitable phenomenon for most expectant mothers. It is important to identify when heartburn starts during pregnancy and take measures in collaboration with your obstetrician-gynecologist. You can read interesting articles about raising and developing children on the pages of our website for expectant parents.

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