Home Remedies for Heartburn in Pregnancy
Heartburn bothers many women during pregnancy and it can be a very unpleasant feeling. Despite the name ‘heartburn’, it has nothing to do with the heart, but rather with the stomach and the digestive system.
Be sure to check out the Heartburn No More website for some great tips on how to get rid of heartburn.
What Causes Heartburn in Women During Pregnancy?
First, let’s see what happens during normal ingestion. When you eat, food travels down the esophagus through a muscular valve, known as the LES, and into the stomach.
In case you didn’t know, the esophagus is the ‘tube’ between the mouth and the stomach. The LES, or lower esophageal sphincter, is like a doorway between the esophagus and the stomach. When the food comes in, it opens to allow the food to enter the stomach. After that, it closes to prevent the stomach fluid from going up into the esophagus.
So, what happens when you have heartburn? Basically, the LES becomes relaxed and allows stomach acid to rise and enter the esophagus. This causes the burning sensation in the chest area, which is why that sensation is named ‘heartburn’. That burning that you feel is caused by stomach acid. This gives you a good idea of how strong stomach acid actually is.
Therefore, you might be wondering why heartburn is more frequent during pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, specific hormone changes happen which allow muscles in the esophagus, especially the LES, to relax more often.
Another reason why heartburn is more common among pregnant women is that as the fetus grows, the stomach will become more and more pressurized. This is especially true if you lie down or if you have just had a large meal.
Making Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Heartburn
There are a few simple changes you can make that can prevent, or at least reduce, heartburn. The first thing you should do is eat smaller meals more frequently. Also, avoid water while eating.
You may drink water between meals, but it can make digestion more difficult if you drink it while eating. You should also eat slowly and chew every single bite thoroughly. The point is to make the digestion process as easy as possible for the stomach.
Also, avoid foods that normally trigger heartburn. For example, chocolate, spicy foods, and acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes will increase the chance for heartburn. If your stomach is especially vulnerable, eating these foods will probably cause heartburn. You should also avoid eating a few hours before you go to bed.
Another great tip is to stay upright at least an hour after you’ve had a meal. If you finish your meal and lie down, this could cause heartburn. Also, drinking a warm glass of milk or eating some yogurt will drastically reduce the chance of heartburn.
You might even consider chewing sugarless gum after your meal. This will increase saliva and neutralize most of the acid that comes back in the esophagus.
Natural Remedies for Heartburn During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, you probably want to do everything you can to avoid chemical products. Luckily, there are some great natural home remedies for heartburn in pregnancy that will have a positive impact on your heartburn, and might even make it disappear completely.
The first remedy that I will share with you is raw almonds. If you eat almonds raw, they can significantly reduce heartburn.
Raw almonds have a high oil content which will naturally soothe and neutralize the stomach acid.
Aloe Vera Juice
Another great remedy is aloe vera juice. However, you should make sure that you find aloe vera juice that is meant for internal use, since the ‘gel’ from aloe vera tastes awful.
If you want a quick solution, you should also consider coconut water. It is a natural acid neutralizer and can bring instant relief.
Another great tip is to use fennel seed. Just add two teaspoons in boiling water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It is also widely known that apple cider vinegar can be excellent for people with heartburn problems.
It doesn’t taste very nice, but the acid content in it will signal the stomach to stop producing more acid. This will almost instantly stop the heartburn.
Ginger is also a great natural remedy for heartburn. Just make the tea from the fresh root, and it will soothe the stomach and prevent it from producing more acid.
There is also a special heartburn tea. You can find many recipes online, and it is relatively simple to make. It contains a variety of different seeds and leaves, which will have a very positive impact on your heartburn. You can also buy it in teabags.
Other Natural Remedies
Finally, we should definitely mention papaya and slippery elm bark. Consuming papaya after a meal will help your stomach digest the food more quickly since it contains some essential enzymes.
Slippery elm bark has long been used by Native Americans, and will provide great help for the irritated stomach.
When Should I Visit the Doctor?
Most women in pregnancy experience mild to slightly severe heartburn. However, you may experience heartburn much stronger than that.
For example, it might be so strong that it wakes you up at night, makes swallowing difficult, causes coughing, produces weight loss over time, or causes black stool.
If that is the case, you might have a more serious problem that requires visiting the doctor. Extreme heartburn might damage the esophagus, and it must be controlled.
Your doctor might conclude that you have GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). If that is the case, instead of taking natural remedies, you will also have to take certain medications.
Your doctor will know which medications are right for you and will prescribe the best option. However, don’t take any medicine without consulting your doctor first, especially when you are pregnant.
If you have ever experienced heartburn, then you know how awful and unpleasant it can be. Heartburn is a common occurrence in pregnant women, most of whom want to avoid taking heavy medicines at all costs.
You can reduce or even stop heartburn just by making a few changes to your daily routine and by eating certain foods and avoiding others. If you are looking for a natural way to get rid of heartburn, we hope that this article has helped you out!
Also, don’t forget to check out the Heartburn No More website for some more fantastic home remedies for heartburn in pregnancy.