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    Indigestion and Heartburn During Pregnancy

    Gas & Bloating

    Indigestion and Heartburn During Pregnancy

    Updated on 6 December 2022

    The journey of nurturing a new life is beautiful. However, it is not bereft of little problems, like indigestion and heartburn. Heartburn during pregnancy- although a mild symptom in most pregnant women, can be easily treated and avoided if one knows why it is happening.

    Indigestion is a feeling of discomfort and pain that one experiences in the stomach because of slow or no digestion. This may lead to acid reflux which causes a burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn.

    Symptoms of indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy

    Here are the most common symptoms of indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy:

    • pain or burning sensation in the chest
    • feeling heavy or bloated
    • frequent burping or belching
    • feel nauseous or being sick
    • bringing up food

    Reasons for indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy

    During pregnancy, the body undergoes a number of hormonal changes to sustain the new life. One such change is the large-scale production of progesterone and relaxin, the two pregnancy hormones. These relax all the muscles in the body, including those in the abdomen, causing the food to move slowly through the digestive tract. While this may be uncomfortable for the pregnant woman, it is good for the baby as it allows better absorption of nutrients.

    When indigestion and heartburn occur in the first trimester, it is primarily because of the change in hormones. However, in the second and third trimesters, it happens because the baby pushes against the stomach causing acid reflux which in turn causes heartburn during pregnancy.

    Other reasons for indigestion during pregnancy

    • Consuming a big meal at once
    • Consuming a meal rich in fats
    • Caffeinated and/or aerated drinks
    • Indulging in physical exercises soon after eating
    • Physical postures such as bending over or slouching soon after eating
    • Stress, anxiety

    Home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy

    If indigestion or heartburn are mild, then certain changes in lifestyle and eating habits can help get relief. Some of these changes that can be easily incorporated include the following:

    1. Eating healthy foods

    Consuming healthy foods that help improve digestion like yoghurt, fennel seeds, whole grains, beets, apples, dark green vegetables, peppermint, and ginger can help accelerate your digestion and provide relief from heartburn during pregnancy.

    2. Avoiding fried, oily, spicy and acidic foods

    You should avoid eating foods that are deep-fried, oily, spicy and acidic. Also, try to go easy on caffeinated and aerated drinks. Instead, drink a lot of water as it helps neutralize the harsh acids made during the digestion process.

    3. Eating small meals

    You should try to consume five to six small meals a day rather than three big meals. Breaking down your meals into smaller portions will make digestion easier and faster. Additionally, ensure that there is a gap of at least two hours between the last meal of the day and the time you sleep.

    4. Changing physical posture

    Try not to slouch or bend over, especially after eating because the acids in your stomach can rise and create the feeling of heartburn. Even while sleeping, prop-up your head and shoulders to avoid heartburn during pregnancy.

    5. Antacids and home remedies

    If you're suffering from heartburn during pregnancy, try talking to your doctor about safe antacid options. You can also ask the elders in the family for home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy.

    6. Chewing on sugarless gum

    Chewing sugarless gums after meals has also worked wonders for some mothers-to-be. Chewing gum makes extra saliva in the mouth, which in turn, helps neutralize the acid and prevents heartburn during pregnancy.

    If in spite of following these home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy and making changes in your lifestyle, indigestion or heartburn continues, then it is imperative that a doctor is consulted. A doctor would be able to diagnose the reason behind these uncomfortable symptoms and prescribe solutions accordingly.

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