How to deal with acid reflux during pregnancy
Acid Reflux, also known as heartburn affects many pregnant women, especially in the third trimester, when Your Child takes up more and more space in your belly.
What is acid reflux?
This happens when the acid in the stomach creeps up into your esophagus. It is more common during pregnancy because progesterone, the main hormone of pregnancy, slows your digestive system. In addition, the growing baby exerts pressure on the stomach, increasing the possibility of stomach acid moving up into the esophagus.
Does pregnancy cause heartburn?
The risk of heartburn or acid reflux increases during pregnancy. In the first trimester, your esophageal muscles take longer time to push food into the stomach, and your stomach also empties more slowly. Though this gives your body more time to absorb nutrients for Your Child, it can also result in heartburn.
In the third trimester, the growing baby exerts pressure on the stomach, possibly pushing it out of its normal position, which can lead to heartburn.
How will my acid reflux affect my baby?
Acid reflux won’t affect Your Child in any way unless you’re adversely affected to the extent that you don’t eat enough and don’t get sufficient nutrients.
What can I do to make it stop?
- Let your meals be smaller but eat more frequently and avoid drinking while eating
- Take your time to chew every bite thoroughly
- Don’t eat close to bedtime
- Stay away from foods and beverages that trigger heartburn, such as chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomato-based items, carbonated beverages, and caffeine
- Be sure to stay upright for at least one hour after a meal
- Lie on your left side when you sleep — lying on your right side will position your stomach higher than your esophagus, which may trigger heartburn
- You may also try drinking fresh lemon water to help reduce heartburn; lemon juice is known to increase the production of digestive juices and bile which can help balance your stomach acid and aid in digestion
Which medications are safe to take during pregnancy?
Over-the-counter antacids that contain calcium carbonate or magnesium can be very helpful, especially in the first and second trimester. But you may have to stay away from magnesium during the third trimester of pregnancy, as magnesium could interfere with contractions during labor.
Before taking any medication, we advise you to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat (OB-GYN) (26 January 2019)