If I had to choose which pregnancy symptom was the most uncomfortable or unpleasant for me, I would say that it was the heartburn. I’m almost getting heartburn right now just thinking about the heartburn that I experienced during both of my pregnancies. Unfortunately, many women experience heartburn during pregnancy. It is one of the most common pregnancy – related discomforts, with just about half of all pregnant women experiencing during one or more of their pregnancies.
If you are suddenly feeling the burn, you may be wondering why. There are a couple of reasons why heartburn is so common during pregnancy. As your baby grows, your uterus expands and exerts pressure in all directions including upwards towards your stomach and esophagus. Also, those pregnancy hormones that have been driving you crazy in many other ways are also relaxing the muscle at the top of your stomach which keeps stomach acid down where it belongs.
Even more important than the “why” behind pregnancy heartburn is finding some relief from it. Many people report that it is helpful to avoid foods which can aggravate heartburn, like spicy foods, tomatoes and other acidic foods, coffee, fried food, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and citrus. While avoiding these foods may help, it may not be enough to take away all of the pain. Over the counter antacids like Tums are generally safe to use while pregnant, but be sure to check with your prenatal care provider first to see whether they are recommended for you. Sometimes, you may be offered the option of a prescription heartburn medication. Be forewarned that it may not be effective – I took one for a couple of weeks during my first pregnancy and found it to be no more effective than Tums.
Pregnancy – related heartburn is no fun. Fortunately in most cases, it magically vanishes as soon as your baby is born. I am happy to report that as bad as my heartburn was, it did vanish within hours of giving birth to each of my sons.
Photo by hamper on morguefile.com.