The truth about heartburn in early pregnancy is that women could experience it regardless whether they are familiar with the discomfort or not.
In many cases women experience heartburn during their pregnancy for the first time. This feels like burning in the chest and abdominal discomfort.
Slowed digestion and heartburn during pregnancy
According to the specialists heartburn can be caused by the changing hormone levels. During pregnancy the progesterone levels increase and this hormone slows down the digestion. As a result the food stays in the stomach for longer and so it is easier for it to return to the esophagus, leading to heartburn.
This is another hormone that increases during those 9 months and it can lead to heartburn when being pregnant. The role of this hormone is to prepare the body for giving birth. It relaxes the hips so that there will be more space for the baby to drop into the birth canal. The relaxation can also affect the esophagus.
The pregnancy hormones can cause heartburn in early pregnancy because they relax the sphincter muscle that can be found at the base of the esophagus. This is the muscle that stops the stomach contents from getting back into the esophagus.
There are some foods that are more likely to cause heartburn while being pregnant than others. Most probably you didn’t have problems with these foods until now. They include spicy foods, garlic, onion, fried foods and fatty foods. It is best if you avoid them during pregnancy.
What can you do?
It is possible that you won’t be able to get rid of heartburn in early pregnancy entirely, but there are some things you can try to minimize the discomfort. For starters you should avoid the foods and beverages that lead to gastrointestinal discomfort.
In order to minimize pregnancy heartburn you shouldn’t have carbonated beverages, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, acidic fruits, mustard, tomatoes, processed meats, vinegar, spicy or hot foods and mint products. Avoid having large meals. Instead you should have several small meals per day.
When you are eating you shouldn’t have too much to drink to avoid heartburn in early pregnancy. After you are done eating, you should have a chewing gum. This is because it stimulates the salivary glands and saliva is able to neutralize the acids. Never eat before bedtime.
To avoid the heartburn of pregnant women you should sleep with your back propped up. If your upper body is elevated, it will become more difficult for the food to come back up into the esophagus. This way digestion will become easier for your stomach and you will experience less discomfort during the night and in the morning.
No matter how bothersome heartburn in early pregnancy may seem, remember that there are some home remedies that you may use. If there is nothing that works for you and it makes you feel really uncomfortable you could ask your doctor for some prescription medication that would help decrease the symptoms and make them more bearable.