Heartburn and Pregnancy
Heartburn and pregnancy unfortunately often go hand in hand. Even though most people experience
from time to time; in pregnancy it can become more frequent and over half of all pregnant women experience
Heartburn in pregnancy is mainly caused by the hormonal and physical body changes. Heartburn among pregnant women usually begins somewhere during their first trimester and typically worsens during the second and third trimesters.
Just like acid reflux heartburn during pregnancy is caused by stomach acids sneaking out of your stomach past the valve (commonly known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES.) that is supposed to keep it there. The stomach fluids rise up through the esophagus causing pain and discomfort.
Unlike acid reflux, the valve is not simply faulty; it has been relaxed by hormones produced due to the pregnancy. The particular hormone is called progesterone and it also relaxes the muscles of the uterus. During digestion your esophagus and intestines make wave~like contractions.
The progesterone slows those contractions, which results in sluggish digestion. Then later during the pregnancy, as your baby gets bigger, the abdominal cavity gets crowded and pushes the stomach acids back up into your esophagus. This condition usually continues until your baby is born.
Although there is nothing that can be done to cure the condition, it is possible to ease your symptoms. The following tips are good things to add to your lifestyle even beyond pregnancy because they promote good health and help prevent other non pregnancy related digestive issues.
When it comes to heartburn and pregnancy, you can ease your symptoms through simple diet and lifestyle changes. If something more is needed, heartburn medication with aluminum, calcium, or magnesium are usually safe and effective.
Magnesium based antacids should be avoided during the last trimester of pregnancy due to its potential to interfere with uterine contractions during labor. Antacids with sodium bicarbonate should be completely avoided because it has the potential to produce too much fluid in both the you and the fetus.
To be safe, however, a doctor should always be consulted before taking heartburn medicine or any other medication during pregnancy.
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