Many women face hyperacidity or heartburn during pregnancy. It’s quite common during this period. Some experience it either in the first, second or third trimester while there may be others who may experience it throughout nine months. No one truly enjoys this feeling!
Well, this is one of the side-effects of being pregnant. However, there’s nothing to worry because we always have some good home remedies to treat acidity during pregnancy. Before that, know why acidity is common during pregnancy.
What Causes Acidity or Heartburn during Pregnancy?
Acidity causes heartburn or chest burns: a burning sensation that starts from your lower throat and extends to your breast bone. Although, the acidity has nothing to do with our heart, the burning sensation usually escalates near the chest area, hence the term ‘heart burn’. This could be quite painful and irritating.
Although acidity is a term that is widely used to indicate the burning in chest, stomach, oesophagus or stomach. It is a completely different phenomenon.
When your stomach produces excessive acid to digest food, you will feel a burning sensation in your stomach or just above it, sometimes mild and sometimes painful. This is known as acidity.
Heartburn happens when your stomach acid travels up the oesophageal tube causing a painful burning sensation along the food pipe, more intense than what you experience in the stomach.
Causes of Acidity in Pregnancy:
- During pregnancy, one particular hormone is produced excessively by the placenta, known as Progesterone. Progesterone is known to relax muscles all over the body, including that of the uterus and the valve that separates stomach and oesophagus. This reaction allows gastric acid travel up the pipe and cause heartburns.
- Progesterone also slows down the stomach contractions (a wave like occurrence) which further make digestion sluggish leading to acidity.
- As your pregnancy matures and your baby grows big, the uterus squeezes the surrounding organs. This can reduce the movements of food from your stomach to oesophagus thus producing acidity.
When your intestine is squeezed, it shall also push the stomach acid upwards and cause heartburns.
Acidity and heartburn is part and parcel of pregnancy. It will keep coming and going until the baby is due. However, you can wad off the heartburn with these home remedies to treat acidity during pregnancy.
10 Measures for Heartburn and Acidity during Pregnancy
- Drink plenty of water to soothe your burns for sometime. Water keeps your acids at a bay and your skin and muscles supple and active. Have at least 8 glasses of water a day. Avoid carbonated drinks and fizzy drinks as they already are acidic.
- Avoid foods that trigger acidity: Spicy, Oily, and Hot dishes, even if they are home cooked. Avoid chocolates, coffee, tea, sugar, alcohol and citrus fruits as all of these aggravate acidity.
- Processed foods should be avoided. Readymade foods and processed foods have higher proportion of preservatives. Preservatives trigger acid reflux. Also, chutneys, pickles, ketchups and sauces, especially tomato and tamarind should be avoided. Pickles, fried chips and chutneys all contain extra doses of salt and additives.
- Meat is not good for acid reflux symptoms, heartburns and stomach acidity as it tends to increase the acid percentage. Hard meats such as red meat should be avoided. Instead of red meat you can eat fish.
- Avoid drinking water or fluids while you are eating. Drinking while eating may cause indigestion. However, remember to drink water, atleast 8 – 10 glasses in a day but in between 2 meals and not while having your meal.
- Include lots of fluids like freshly squeezed fruit juices, smoothies and milk shakes in your diet. Protein shakes can also be consumed. Fluids balance the acid level in our stomach.
- Avoid late dinners. Eat your last meal 2 – 3 hours before hitting the bed. Don’t lie down immediately after a meal because lying down may lead the acids out of your stomach due to gravity. Sitting and relaxing after a meal is the ideal way to keep your acids at bay.
- Cold milk or a cup of yoghurt is a great ancient remedy to keep your stomach acids neutralised. Other traditional foods that treat heartburns during pregnancy are ginger tea, chamomile tea, peppermint tea (all in moderate quantities) and bananas.
- Sleeping position also matters. Prop two to 3 pillows and sleep so that your head is elevated and is higher than your tummy. This position will keep your acids away from travelling up to the pipe.
- Antacids that do not contain sodium bicarbonate and magnesium trisilicate are safe during pregnancy. You can buy them over the counter and are available across all pharmacies. However, it is always recommended to consult your doctor before starting any type of medication.