How to manage heartburn during pregnancy
Heartburn can happen at any time during your pregnancy but mostly rears its head in the second and third trimester. We are predisposed to heartburn in pregnancy for reasons out of our control: baby pushing on the stomach, increased progesterone (which relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter), slower intestinal motility, and the stomach is naturally more acidic.
As tempting as it sounds to take an antacid, try to avoid them. Acid is there for a reason (kill bacteria, digest protein, absorb Vitamin B12), and sometimes heartburn is caused by too little acid. Instead, try to manage it with these tips from Jordana Smith, our Dietician.
- Opt for small meals and snacks, and avoid drinking with your meals as this increases stomach distention.
- Avoid high sugar meals. High blood glucose levels cause our lower oesophageal sphincter to relax even further.
- Keep a food diary – sometimes heartburn can be caused by food sensitivity or eating irritating foods. Track your heartburn, and you may be able to pinpoint your trigger food or foods.
- Posture. Make an effort to sit up straight. When we slouch (which is common in pregnancy), there is even less room for your internal organs to find space around your baby.
- Avoid eating late at night and going straight to sleep.
Always communicate this and other symptoms to your physician as they will be able to best guide you for your individual needs.