No matter whom you ask, you will get varying answers as to just how many women experience heartburn during pregnancy and when it is most likely to occur. The consensus seems to be that anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of pregnant women suffer from heartburn, but that is where the similarities end. Some doctors say that heartburn during pregnancy is likely to begin in the first or second trimester while some believe it most commonly begins during the second or third trimester. In any case, one thing everyone agrees with is the fact that you should never take any medications unless you speak with your doctor or midwife first.
What Causes Heartburn during Pregnancy?
The first thing to know about heartburn during pregnancy is where it comes from. There are some who believe it is hormonal changes in the body while others feel that it is the extra weight causing pressure on the stomach and in turn the esophagus. Morning sickness is common for pregnant women but heartburn is different. It is that burning sensation from your chest up to your throat, commonly referred to as acid indigestion. Excess acidity refluxes up through the esophageal sphincter and is the ultimate cause of heartburn.
Heartburn during Pregnancy First Trimester
While it seems to be less common for women to experience heartburn during pregnancy first trimester, there are those who do and luckily it is easier to treat at this time. Although you still need to be careful about using medications, even OTC antacids, you are not faced with a huge baby pushing your organs all out of whack, compounding the problem. If you are one of the unlucky ones who start experiencing heartburn early on, treatment will follow similar patterns as in any other trimester, the main difference being the severity of the symptoms in most cases.
Heartburn during Pregnancy Treatment Options
The most widely accepted heartburn during pregnancy treatment options includes lifestyle changes. Most doctors recommend eating lighter meals more frequently, wearing loose fitting clothing and of course you are asked to stop smoking. Of course you would want to anyway, but if for some unknown reason you didn’t, this would be a good time to do so. There is one other suggestion which many healthcare professionals recommend and that is to elevate the head of the bed by six to eight inches. It can either be done with blocks under the frame at the head or with a wedged pillow. Just make sure that the pillow is firm enough to support your weight to keep the top portion of your body elevated.
Heartburn during Pregnancy Natural Remedies
Before taking any natural remedies, consult with your doctor because some herbal preparations are known to cause complications during pregnancy. Keep in mind that you are trying to neutralize the acid so anything that is alkaline should help, such as milk or a bit of baking soda in cool water. The ancient Chinese swore by ginger root and this remedy has been around for literally thousands of years. It is also suggested that vitamin B-6 is helpful with heartburn during pregnancy as it is known to be beneficial to morning sickness.
For women suffering from heartburn during pregnancy the best advice is to try to take it easy. Limit your intake of fatty foods, stop drinking coffee and soda and make sure that you try to reduce your stress level. By wearing loose fitting clothing and eating smaller meals throughout the day, you should be able control heartburn during pregnancy to some degree. If you find that it becomes unbearable talk to your doctor for a treatment which is safe for both you and baby. With a little luck, it will all be over once the baby is born.