Pregnancy Articles

Help for Heartburn

Pregnancy Symptoms and Discomforts

Heartburn is a frequent complaint during the last months of pregnancy. It is characterized as a burning sensation in the mid chest, throat, or mouth area. The high hormone levels cause the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach to relax. This allows for the stomach's digestive acids to be pushed back up into the esophagus, throat and mouth. These digestive acids burn the sensitive lining, which causes pain and discomfort, making you miserable.

It occurs more frequently during the end of pregnancy because food is moving more slowly through the intestines, and the enlarging uterus is compressing the stomach. Gravity helps your digestive tract to keep food moving in the right direction. Therefore, heartburn is often worse at night, when you are in bed.

If you are experiencing heartburn, one or more of the following suggestions may be helpful. Listen to your body to find out what will work for you.

  • Eat 5-6 small meals each day, and chew the food slowly.

  • Limit greasy, fatty, and fried foods. These can take 4-6 hours to digest before leaving the stomach. Never have a high fat snack before bedtime.

  • Limit spicy food. Many women find chili powder and peppers to be troublesome.

  • Avoid foods that may aggravate heartburn, such as broccoli, cabbage, chocolate, garlic, onions, and caffeine.

  • Drink fluids, including soup, between meals rather than with meals.

  • Wear clothes that are loose around the waist.

  • Remain upright 1-2 hours after a meal or snack.

  • Sleep in a recliner for some relief at night.
Check with your health care provider before taking any antacids or other medications.

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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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