Many women experience heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy for the first time in their entire lives. This is generally thought to be due to the extra weight that women put on while pregnant, as the stomach grows, there is more pressure and acid reflux can be the outcome. Other reasons can be down to the increased levels of hormones in a pregnant body. They can soften the ligaments that prevent acid from creeping back up into the esophagus. Hormones levels often give women acid reflux even before they know that they are pregnant and for some, this is their early warning sign.
Preventing Acid Reflux in Pregnancy
It is difficult to eliminate acid reflux entirely during pregnancy but there are measures that can be taken which will alleviate the discomfort caused. Acid reflux during pregnancy can be trigged by certain foods such as spicy foods and as such these foods should be avoided as much as possible to minimize the chances of acid reflux occurring. Caffeine and alcohol both relax the ligaments, which mean acid has the opportunity to reflux back into the esophagus and throat so drinks and foods containing these should be removed from the diet. Eating several smaller meals rather than two or three large ones can also help, as can eating slowly and chewing food properly.
Fluids such as milk and water can help to soothe the discomfort caused by acid reflux as well as helping to prevent future occurrences. Lying down immediately after a meal is a bad idea and while sleeping, the head and shoulders should be propped up by pillows which help to keep acids in the stomach. Wearing tight clothes around the waist and stomach can put too much pressure on the area and force acids to reflux. Loose clothing is a must when avoiding acid reflux in pregnancy. It is also a good idea to note how you bend to pick up objects. By bending at the waist, pressure is again put on the stomach so a good alternative would be to bend at the knees instead.
Good posture and gaining the recommended amount of weight is also necessary to prevent acid reflux in pregnancy. Smoking should most certainly be avoided and check with a doctor before taking over the counter antacids and acid reflux remedies as they may contain ingredients that are not suitable for pregnant women. There are enough discomforts in pregnancy without adding acid reflux to the list so follow these tips to make the hassle of heartburn as minimal as possible.