Ah heartburn — that horrible, fiery feeling in your chest that keeps you from sleeping at night and gives you that constant sour, metallic taste in your mouth. Unfortunately, unlike morning sickness, which tends to taper off in the second semester, heartburn is likely to reappear and may even worsen towards the end as your baby pushes the stomach upwards.
Almost all women experience heart burn during pregnancy. Heartburn is usually characterized by am uncomfortable burning feeling in the chest and around the throat.
Though heartburn is usually associated with problems in the digestion process, even those women who take good care of their diet and have never experienced heartburn earlier, may experience it during pregnancy.
This is usually caused due to an excess of digestive juices in the stomach. Sometimes, these juices can reach the chest and throat, causing burning sensations. You may also feel an acidic and sour taste in mouth while experiencing heartburn.
During pregnancy, heartburn may also be caused due to the increase in hormones in the body. This increase in hormones causes the lower esophageal sphincter to remain closed very tightly. The increasing uterus and the pressure in the abdomen may cause the sphincter to open inadvertently, allowing contents of the stomach to be pushed into the esophagus.
Natural ways to reduce heartburn
Take good care of your diet
Do spend time to figure out which food is triggering your heartburn so you can avoid them. Do also graze on small snacks throughout the day instead of eating a big feast. This will ensure less acid in your stomach at any given point. Lastly do not snack before bedtime – try to keep a two hour snack free time before sleep.
Drink between meals
While it’s good to drink a lot of water, avoid drinking while you’re eating. Doing so increases the volume going into your stomach, which only puts pressure on your digestive valves and allows upward flow of partially digested foods. Take small sips if you need to help you swallow, and then have more water between meals.
Don’t lie down after a meal
Pregnancy makes you want to nap — a lot — but it’s important not to take your 40 winks too soon after eating. Wait an hour if you can, and if you just can’t stay awake, try taking a snooze sitting up. To avoid heartburn at night and get a better night’s sleep, avoid eating anything three hours before bedtime.
Prop yourself up to sleep
Lying down makes reflux worse, so always have your head and shoulders propped up at an angle with plenty of pillows when you sleep. This will also open up passageways so you can breathe better.
Wear loose clothing
If you’re not wearing loose-fitting clothes to adjust to your growing body, this could also be adding to your pregnancy heartburn. Tight clothes, especially around your waste, will only make you more uncomfortable and not help in proper digestion. Switch to some more comfortable clothes — it could really help!
Try a breath mint
If you hate that sour taste in your mouth, try chewing on something like a breath mint, piece of gum or gummy bear. The chewing motion helps your mouth produce saliva, which can reduce acid in your esophagus and the minty taste will help eliminate that metallic taste in your mouth.
It’s important not to forget about exercise during pregnancy. Exercise improves your metabolic rate, which in turn can rev up that sluggish digestion that’s so common with pregnancy. You will also maintain a healthier weight, which is an added plus as obesity can also contribute to acid reflux. Plus, exercise releases “happy hormones” and can also help combat those mood swings you have for no reason. Win-win!