Sporting a growing belly for 10 months is no walk in the park. Besides the morning sickness, backaches, swollen feet, many mothers-to-be experienced the dreaded heartburn, which commonly strikes pregnant women during the second half of the pregnancy.
What is pregnancy heartburn?
Thanks to progesterone, these hormones relax the muscles of the uterus, but at the same time relaxes the valve that separates the oesophagus from the stomach. In turn, causing gastric acids to seep back up (acid reflux), which results in that unpleasant burning sensation. This condition is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
We unearthed some tried-and-tested ways from real mothers to learn how they overcome pregnancy heartburn.
Tip 1: Reducing Spicy Food & Eating Slowly
Reducing or avoiding food and beverages that causes gastrointestinal distress will minimize heartburn. Kaleena Kwan, a mother of one had to give up on spicy foods and switching to a bland diet to curb the situation. She found that by eating smaller portions per meal and eating slowly help her too.
Tip 2: Eating Smaller Portions
Eating several smaller meals throughout the day improve digestion and reduce the occurrence of heartburn. However, a minority of mothers found comfort in eating more food and keeping their digestion active. Irene Ryn Wong, mother of one, found it helpful to drink plain cereal before and during her sleep (when she woke up to head to the toilet) to prevent her stomach from being empty.
Tip 3: Avoiding Carbonated Water
Some beverages such as carbonated drinks will cause gastrointestinal distress to pregnant moms. Substitute carbonated water for plain water or juices. While many pregnant moms may shun carbonated drinks, Jolin Poon, a mother of two finds solace in carbonated drinks in times of discomfort.
Tip 4: Chewing On Gum
Chewing on gum after meals help to stimulate your salivary glands, and in turn, helps to reduce acid reflux.
Tip 5: Channel Your Focus To Something Else
Forgot the discomfort and focus on something you enjoy. This distraction tactic works for some moms-to-be. Liz Tan, a mother of 3, channeled her energy to online shopping. Focusing her energy on something she enjoys, helped to distract her mind from her discomfort that she was experiencing.
Tip 6: Moving & Walking It Off
Don’t go straight to bed after a meal. Take a walk along the park can aid in digestion and help to relieve the discomfort in the chest and tummy. Even Liz Tan, a mother of 3, found moving around the
house perfectly helpful for her heartburn.
Tip 7: Stop Eating A Couple Of Hours Before Sleep
Sleeping with a tummy full of food will cause ingestion and affect your sleep. Avoid eating close to bedtime. If you tend to feel hungry at night, constitute a full meal for a glass of warm milk. The best bet is to give yourself a good 2-3 hours to digest before you turn in. Valerie Chian, a mother of one, stopped eating a couple of hours before sleep-time and popped an extra pillow under her back when she sleeps, it has definitely helped her in alleviating some heartburn symptoms.
Tip 8: Wearing Loose & Comfortable Clothes
Don’t suffocate yourself up by wearing tight fitting clothes. The tightness around your tummy will trigger discomfort and increase the chance of acid reflux especially when you sleep. Wear comfortable clothing throughout the day if possible.
Tip 9: Don’t get too stressed
Stress does not cause heartburn BUT, being stressed can lead to emotional instability which in turn, triggers heartburn. If you are feeling stressed or unhappy, talk to your spouse, family or friends. Exercise and mediation may aid in relieving stress.
Tip 10: Consume Gaviscon
Gaviscon is a non-prescript oral medication that aids in heartburn. Many moms-to-be like Drea Kang Gruszka, consume Gaviscon when the heartburn gets too unbearable. She found it effective in keeping acid down in the stomach, providing instant relief. However, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor before consuming it.
While you may not be able to prevent pregnancy heartburn entirely, you can cope with it by understanding which of these tips work for you. Remember to avoid lying completely flat or on the right side when you sleep, as it may worsen the discomfort. The good news is that pregnancy heartburn usually goes away after the baby is delivered. In the meantime, simple changes in lifestyle and habits can help to alleviate the discomfort. Consult your doctor if unsure.
Have a happy and healthy pregnancy!
By Cindy Gan