Pregnant women often complain about frequent heartburn symptoms during their gestation periods, and there can be several reasons why they experience it.
One of the reasons why this happens is the increased level of hormones in their bodies when they’re carrying a child. As hormonal levels rise up the charts, the ligaments that play their part in keeping the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) tightly closed, are softened. Due to this resting of LES at unsuitable periods, chances are that it will allow the food coupled with the gastric acid to make its way back to the esophagus and eventually to the throat as well.
Another reason why women experience such heartburns is because the development of the baby causes changes in many structures of the mother’s body, one of them being that more pressure is created in the mother’s stomach. This, in turn, causes the contents of the stomach to be forced into the LES, and then make its way to the esophagus.
This condition is not untreatable. There are many steps pregnant women can take and many guidelines that can be followed to eliminate the uneasiness caused by heartburns. The advices mentioned below are very effective in lessening the discomfort caused by heartburns. However, they might not completely eliminate it.
- Try not to eat foods that would make your heartburn worse. Avoid spicy foods, citrus fruits and their juices, chocolates, tomatoes and their products, fat-laden foods, fried foods, and dishes that come with extensive seasoning. You might want to visit a medical professional or a nutritionist so you get to know about the complete range of products that you should avoid during such a crucial stage of your life.
- Do some research and find out about beverages that contain caffeine, such as carbonated drinks, coffee, and tea. Kick them out of your dietary habits because too many of these will cause the softening of LES and lead to the acid coming back to the esophagus.
- Alcohol is one of those things you wouldn’t want to try at all during this phase. It has an effect similar to that of caffeine, thus creating a pathway that leads to heartburns.
- Divide your meals. Instead of consuming larger meals, take smaller meals frequently to keep your energy level from falling and LES from relaxing.
- Take time to chew your food properly, and do not take the next bite until the previous one has easily made its way into your esophagus. Take your time while eating and prevent potential heartburns.
- The time between your sleep and your last meal should be divided by at least three hours of rest.
- Increase your water intake to at least 8-10 glasses per day. Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and not only during the mealtime, because it will give more pressure to the stomach, which will result in an inappropriate softening of LES, and that’s something you’d want to avoid at all costs. Therefore, consume more water and fluids in between meals rather than during meals.
- When you’re on your bed and trying to sleep, ensure that your head is elevated at a height of at least six to eight inches above the level of your mattress. Consider sleeping with elevated head and shoulders with the help of a wedge pillow. This will bring gravity into effect and it will keep your stomach’s acids from moving up your digestive system. Nighttime heartburns can be controlled even more effectively if your have a medical professional to guide you about it.
- Avoid clothes that fit tightly, because pressure around the waist will cause stomach acids to make their way up your esophagus, leading to yet another heartburn.
- Instead of bending at your waist, bend at your knees in order to avoid the development of excessive pressure in your stomach.
- Avoid slouching and sit erect in a comfortable chair.
- Ensure not to run overweight, because too much fatty content can develop excessive unwanted pressure on your stomach, forcing its contents upwards through the loosened LES. Seek professional assistance from a doctor.
- Smoking should be avoided at all costs, because in addition to triggering heartburns, it can also have negative effects on the pregnant woman as well as on her unborn child.