An old wives’ tale suggests that if you have heartburn during pregnancy, your baby will be born with a full head of hair. This is little consolation, however, to those who are experiencing it. Fortunately, you can treat the heartburn that you have and prevent heartburn from happening through making small changes.
Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest. Your esophagus is a long tube that connects your mouth to your stomach, leading straight down the middle of your chest. It is here that you will notice the pain. In some cases, you’ll experience a small amount of bile coming up into your mouth.
Heartburn is more common in pregnancy due to the progesterone that your body produces. This can cause the valve that separates the esophagus and stomach to relax, sometimes allowing stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. Certain positions, like lying down or bending from the waist, can cause more acid to enter your esophagus.
Every woman is different and may have different things that trigger her heartburn. Certain foods, such as those that are high in fat or spicy, are common triggers. By paying attention to which foods are more likely to cause your heartburn, you can avoid them, thus reducing the incidence. Eating smaller meals can keep your stomach from becoming too full, which can push acid into your esophagus. You should also avoid lying down soon after eating. If your heartburn persists when lying down, even if you haven’t recently eaten, you can prop yourself up with pillows, which can reduce the chance of the acid going back into your esophagus.
While you can take measures to prevent heartburn from happening, you may also want to be able to treat it when it does occur. Talk to your doctor about the heartburn that you are experiencing. In most cases, over-the-counter antacids are compatible with pregnancy, and she will recommend that you take them.
Don’t mistake a heart attack for heartburn. Though uncommon, you can experience a heart attack while pregnant. This will feel like a tightening of the chest rather than a burning sensation. If you have even the slightest concern, you should immediately go to the hospital.
- cold and flu image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com