alaska women's health

Heartburn During Pregnancy

heartburn during pregnancy

Pregnant women frequently suffer from heartburn during the final trimester of pregnancy. This is usually caused by the crowding together of organs in your abdomen in order to accommodate your growing baby. The pressure exerted on your stomach by your baby may cause periodic regurgitation of food from the stomach. Also, regulatory valves called “sphincters” relax in your digestive tract during pregnancy. This allows stomach acid to back up into your esophagus and cause heartburn. This may cause some discomfort and at times may result in chest pain.

These tips may help alleviate your heartburn:

  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks.

  • Avoid foods or beverages containing caffeine, alcohol, pepper, nutmeg, and aspirin. These items can cause excessive stomach acid formation.

  • Eat a few crackers at intervals between meals and snack to help absorb stomach acid.
  • Relax at meals and chew your food thoroughly. Drink fluids after meals instead of before or during.

  • Do not bend over or lie down after eating. Get dressed in the morning before eating breakfast. Try not to do anything that will allow stomach contents to flow up your esophagus.

  • Sleep in an elevated position. Prop up the upper part of your body by either elevating the mattress or using two pillows.

  • Antacids without sodium may be used during pregnancy. These include Tums, Rolaids (calcium formula), Mylanta, or Maalox. Baking soda and Alka Seltzer should be avoided.