We all know pregnancy is full of joys. But it can have its less pleasant sides too! These include acid indigestion or heartburn, which is caused by a mixture of physical and hormonal changes. There are lots of things you can do to soothe your heartburn symptoms safely.
Although pregnancy heartburn isn't much fun for you, the good news is that the slow movement of food actually helps your baby. Because the nutrients from your food are taking more time to move through your system, there's more time for your baby to absorb the goodness.
Why you get heartburn
As a mum-to-be, your body is cleverly producing extra progesterone to relax your muscles and allow your baby to grow. Unfortunately that also means the valve at the entrance to your stomach relaxes too, allowing bits of stomach acid to enter. Because everything is more relaxed than usual, it's harder for food to move through your system too. And as your uterus gets bigger, there'll also be added pressure on your stomach which doesn't help things.
If you are suffering from heartburn during pregnancy, the following tips could make your life easier:
- Avoid spicy, fatty or very rich dishes.
- Caffeine is not recommended in large quantities during pregnancy and it can also bring on heartburn, so it's best to avoid drinks like coffee during pregnancy.
- Cut out acidic citrus juices but make sure you keep up your fibre intake in other ways. Wholegrain bread, brown rice, wholegrain breakfast cereals and fruit and vegetables are all good sources of fibre.
- Cut out, or at least cut down on, chocolate.
- Eat little and often, and not too close to bedtime.
- Drink some water before a meal to help digestion.
- Chew gum after a meal to increase saliva production, which helps to neutralise stomach acid.
- A milky drink before bedtime can help.
- Over the years, other mums have said their saviours have been peppermint tea and raw garlic (though not together!)
- Sleeping with a few extra pillows to prop you up in bed can also help get rid of heartburn.
- And finally, your doctor can prescribe you an antacid. Some over the counter remedies aren't suitable for use during pregnancy, so always refer to your doctor for advice.