Heartburn and Pregnancy: What You Should Know
June 30, 2016
It can strike at night, first thing in the morning, after a meal or throughout the day. Heartburn is something that women often experience during pregnancy. In fact, more than half of all pregnant women report symptoms of severe heartburn, particularly during their second and third trimesters.1 The irritating and burning sensation through the chest and up through the esophagus can be severe and painful.
What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy?
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.2 Women who are pregnant can get heartburn from the same things as women who are not pregnant. Some of the most common causes of heartburn include spicy or greasy foods, carbonated drinks, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, tomato-based foods, and fatty foods.
Pregnant women are more prone to heartburn because of the changes occurring in their bodies. As the uterus grows it can crowd the stomach, pushing stomach acid upward.1 Hormonal changes also play a role.. In a normal pregnancy, progesterone levels continually increase. During the second trimester, progesterone levels nearly double. They reach their maximum in the third trimester, just before delivery. Higher levels of progesterone cause the valve in the throat to relax and stomach acid to enter the esophagus.1 That’s why women in their second and third trimesters more often report symptoms of heartburn.
Help Reduce Heartburn Frequency During Pregnancy
While heartburn may be common during pregnancy, there are some changes that women can make to help reduce its symptoms.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of fluids before and after meals, but limit fluid intake while eating.
- Ask a health care provider about antacids.
- Adjust sleeping positions to elevate the head and lay on the left side .
- Avoid trigger foods, such as fried, greasy, acidic and spicy foods.
Prescription Prenatal Vitamins to Supplement Prenatal Nutrition
Eliminating certain foods and beverages is one way to reduce the symptoms and incidences of heartburn. During pregnancy, a well-balanced diet is even more important than usual as mothers-to-be are eating to support the nutritional needs of their babies, too. The Prenate® Vitamin Family is committed to promoting women’s health. Prenate® Vitamins can help support mother and baby throughout pregnancy and through labor and delivery. Even with a balanced and healthy diet, many women have trouble meeting their daily recommended intakes for certain vitamins and minerals. Talk to your doctor to see if a prenatal vitamin may be right for you to help fill nutritional gaps.