Pregnant women already have their hands full with plenty of things from back pain to frequent urination. Thus, the possibility of heartburn during pregnancy seems like one too many aggravations already but it is a fact of life that expectant mothers should learn to deal with in their own ways. The good news is that pregnancy-related heartburn is relatively easy to manage with a few simple lifestyle changes.

Fueled by Hormones

Final weeks of pregnancy

By storyvillegirl from Flickr.com

But what causes heartburn in an expectant mother in the first place? Well, blame it on the physical and hormonal changes that happen within a woman’s body during the nine-month gestation process as well as on certain heartburn triggers. These causes of heartburn during pregnancy include:

• The release of the hormone known as progesterone leads to the symptoms of heartburn because of a domino-like process. The hormone relaxes many muscles in the body including the valve separating the esophagus from the stomach. This allows the gastric acid to seep back up to the throat.
• The growing baby pushes up the abdominal cavity, thus, resulting in stomach acids going back up the throat as well. Aside from the relatively normal nausea, the sour taste at the back of the throat from the gastric acid intensifies the unpleasant experience.
• Unhealthy habits like the love for fatty, fried and greasy food aggravates the risks for developing heartburn.

Most women will experience heartburn during pregnancy at the second half. The bad news is that heartburn can be a frequent visitor until your baby is born.

Easy Treatment Options

The good news is that you have so many options to lessen the severity of the episodes of heartburn as well as to lessen their frequency. You need not purchase medicines since these are simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference in your quality of life as an expectant mother. These easy treatment options include:

• Avoidance of the food and drinks that result in gastrointestinal distress with the primary culprits being caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, processed meats and fatty food. All of these food items are unhealthy for you and your baby anyway so avoiding them to avoid heartburn during pregnancy is logical.
• Eat smaller meals instead of the big meals you may want to binge on. This way, you can avoid putting on more pressure on the stomach than it is already experiencing from your bulging uterus.
• Large quantities of water are also a big no-no in avoiding heartburn while pregnant. The rationale is the same as that of eating smaller meals. Of course, you must drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day for hydration purposes but do so in small sips only. You should also be able to avoid frequent trips to the toilet.
• Avoid eating close to bedtime. You want to avoid the gastric juices from working overtime while you are lying down, which is a surefire way to bring on the symptoms.
• Don’t smoke either for the obvious reason that it harms the baby as well as for the reason that it boosts the acidity of the stomach.

If you are still experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy, then it is time to see your doctor. Keep in mind that it is not just your health at stake but your precious baby’s health as well.

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