heart burn

Healing Heartburn While Pregnant

July 23rd, 2009
My daughter, 2 days old

My daughter, 2 days old

There is an old wives’ tale that says, “If you have heart burn when you’re pregnant, then the baby has a lot of hair.” This was certainly true with my first pregnancy. I had horrible heartburn for the entire pregnancy and my daughter was born with a head full of straight black hair.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I carried her high right at the junction of my ribs. Everything was pushed up which made me a prime candidate for heartburn, which is actually acid reflux.

Acid reflux is really common, even amongst the non-pregnant, but can really be a problem for pregnant women. As the uterus grows, all the internal organs are displaced upwards. This can lead to upward pressure on the esophageal sphincter allowing reflux of the stomach contents. Additionally, the additional hormones present during pregnancy relax the body’s muscles adding to the relaxed sphincter and the back flow of the stomach’s contents.

My daughter today at 6.5

My daughter today at 6.5

What can an expectant mama so for relief?

  1. Eat several small meals throughout the day. By not filling the stomach to capacity there is less to reflux.
  2. Avoid spicy and/or rich foods which seem to aggrivate the condition.
  3. While the recommendation is to drink less while eating, I found that If I drank water with my meals, I experienced less reflux. You can experiment with this tip and see which way works best for you.
  4. Don’t lay down for an hour after eating. If you are on strict bedrest, elevate the head of your bed so that you are always inclined and never laying flat (which increase the likelihood of reflux and heartburn occuring.)
  5. Check with your doctor to see if you can take Tums or Maalox. These medications are usually safe during pregnancy, but make sure they are safe in your case.

Hang in there! Heartburn is another one of those “special memories” that accompany pregnancy. But speaking from experience, it’s well worth it.