Often in groups, when we move onto the topic of heartburn, participants ask me how they would know if they have heartburn – and someone in the group always pipes up “trust me, you would know.”
In pregnancy your body is flooded with a hormone called relaxin. This is great because it helps our bodies prepare for labour. However, it also relaxes a muscle we have between our esophagus and stomach called a sphincter, leaving it slightly open during pregnancy. This allows stomach acid and other contents to travel back up our esophagus causing that burning sensation we know as heartburn.
Here are some tips for dealing with heartburn in pregnancy:
· Eat 4-5 smaller meals a day. Less food in your stomach at once can help prevent it coming back up your
· Make sure you aren’t wearing overly tight fitting clothing, including a bra that is too tight.
· Notice if caffeine or chocolate are making the heartburn worse. If they bother you avoid them.
· Pay attention after brushing your teeth. Does your heartburn get worse? If you are using a mint-flavoured
toothpaste try switching to another flavour such as cinnamon or anise.
· Sit upright for a minimum of 45 minutes after eating. Avoid slouching.
· Try separating solids and liquids at meal times. Have drinks away from meals; before or after you eat, whichever
works best for you.
· Get some activity in your day. Even slowly walking around can help.
· Notice if acidic foods bother you and avoid them only if they do.
· Notice if spicy foods bother you and avoid them only if they do.
· Try using a calcium carbonate liquid to help ease symptoms.
· Try drinking milk to help ease symptoms.
If you are suffering from heartburn be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider. You don’t need to just suffer through.
Wondering how to make changes in your diet to help ease heartburn? Contact Jill, Nurture The Future’s Registered Dietitian at firstname.lastname@example.org