Pregnacy acid reflux?


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If you’re battling “the burn” in your chest (AKA heartburn) during your pregnancy, you may have been told it means your baby will be born with a full head of hair. Alas, this is just an old myth. Add it to the list of many “old wives’ tales” you’ll probably receive during pregnancy.

The truth is heartburn is quite common – both in everyday life and during pregnancy. Heartburn is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms, occurring in 17% to 45% of pregnant women.

The good news is that there are a few things you can try to relieve and prevent the burn. Read on to learn more about heartburn during pregnancy and ways to soothe the burning in your chest.

Pregnancy acid reflux?

What is heartburn?

Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, but it can cause a burning sensation in your chest. Heartburn symptoms can also include a sore throat, coughing and a sour/bitter taste in your mouth.

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents travel back up into your esophagus (food pipe). It creates a burning pain in your lower chest. If it occurs regularly, it can be symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

When does heartburn start during pregnancy and why does it happen?

Heartburn may start at any time during your pregnancy. It can get worse as your pregnancy goes along, but it usually improves or goes away after you have your baby.

Susan Bush, a certified nurse-midwife with Banner Health, said there are a few reasons for this:

  • Changing hormones
  • Your growing baby
  • Slowed digestion

“Your pregnancy hormones (particularly progesterone) that soften the ligaments and joints in your body also cause the relaxation of the esophageal sphincter (the flap between your stomach and esophagus),” Bush said. “This allows stomach acid to go up into the esophagus, which can cause a burning, uncomfortable sensation.”

Another reason is that as your body changes shape and your baby grows, your uterus will push up against your stomach. “This increasing pressure or “squishing” on the stomach is why heartburn tends to worsen for some pregnant people in the third trimester,” Bush said.

Also, during pregnancy, your digestive tract slows down so nutrients can be more readily absorbed by the baby. This can cause gas, bloating, nausea and heartburn, to name a few.

How is heartburn treated in pregnancy?

Talk to your health care provider if you are experiencing uncomfortable heartburn. Most often, they may recommend lifestyle changes and home remedies first to see if this helps make your symptoms more tolerable.

Bush offered the following tips to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy:

  • Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Check out “What Foods to Eat and Avoid During Pregnancy” for ideas and tips.
  • Drink liquids before and after eating (not during) to prevent your stomach from getting too full.
  • Sip on milk with honey or eat yogurt. These may be just what you need to neutralize heartburn-causing acid.
  • Avoid citrus, greasy (fried food), high-acid food and drinks, and spicy food. Limit fatty foods.
  • Try papaya. The digestive enzymes found in papaya have been shown to help ease symptoms. There are also papaya enzyme tablets available over the counter.
  • Prop yourself up during sleep. Sleeping with your head elevated over your chest can help control flare-ups and provide pregnancy heartburn relief at night.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after meals to increase saliva production.
  • Limit your caffeine intake to under 200 milligrams (about 12 ounces of coffee).

What heartburn medications are safe during pregnancy?

If the natural methods above aren’t cutting it, you may need medication for further relief. However, you have to be extremely careful when it comes to medications during pregnancy.


Heartburn is very common during pregnancy. Get yourself some relief.

Contact your health care provider if you’re not finding heartburn relief. Your provider can help guide you regarding treatment options, whether that’s making certain lifestyle changes or taking medications.

Contact your provider if you notice additional symptoms, such as headaches or swelling of your face, hands and feet, or experience problems, such as weight loss, stomach pain or trouble eating.


Aman k. Kashyap

I am a hard-working and driven medical student who isn't afraid to face any challenge. I'm passionate about my work . I would describe myself as an open and honest person who doesn't believe in misleading other people and tries to be fair in everything I do.

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