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Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing – however, it can come with some nasty and annoying side effects. One of them is heartburn (also known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux) which refers to the inconvenient burning sensation in the area of your chest- most often after eating. If you are suffering from the symptoms of heartburn, I have good news for you: today we will review some great home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy.
Thus, the next time you are about to reach for your over-the-counter or prescription medication, you can try one of these natural heartburn remedies instead!
Or do both!! I recently had terrible heart burn with my second pregnancy during the third trimester. A lot of these helped me- although at the end of my pregnancy I just surrendered to an evening antacid before bed so that I could sleep.
Heartburn during pregnancy
If you are dealing with heartburn, understandably, you might want to know which natural remedies can help relieve your symptoms right away. However, believe me when I say that understanding the causes of heartburn is equally important.
When it comes to heartburn during pregnancy, more than half of expectant moms experience serious heartburn. Most often, the symptoms appear during the second and third trimesters. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Burning sensation or pain in the chest, particularly after eating
- Feeling full, heavy, or bloated
- Having a bitter or sour taste in the mouth
- Burp, cough, or having a sore throat
The reason why so many pregnant women have to deal with this uncomfortable side effect is that there is a constant change in their hormone levels. Unfortunately, these changes can affect the muscles of their digestive tract and the way how their body handles the various types of foods.
Because of the pregnancy hormones, the muscular valve between the esophagus and stomach (called the lower esophageal sphincter) doesn’t function always properly and can start to relax. As a result, the stomach acids can flow back into the esophagus.
Also, as the baby is growing, the uterus may start to push the stomach out of its ideal position. Ultimately, it can also cause heartburn. (This was definitely my case!)
However, each pregnancy is different. So if until now you haven’t experienced any symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have heartburn. The onset of heartburn depends on several factors, including your daily habits, diet, and even your overall health.
Related read: The Ultimate Guide to Handling Morning Sickness
10 tips for cutting down on heartburn during pregnancy
Now that you understand the main causes of heartburn while being pregnant, let’s see what you can do to relieve or prevent heartburn. Below we will discuss some of the most popular tips and natural home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy. Are you ready? Then let’s dive into them!
1. Consume milk or other dairy products
Once you feel that your symptoms start to appear, drink a glass of milk or eat natural yogurt (or other dairy products). They seem to be an effective way to quell the symptoms of heartburn and decrease discomfort. This is because the milk acts as a barrier in the stomach, reducing irritation.
For my first pregnancy this was a lifesaver all throughout. Unfortunately, it was quite the opposite with my second one. So give it a try but know that not all of these work for every person and pregnancy!
2. Add some ginger to your diet
Although most people know ginger for its effectiveness to reduce nausea and treat vomiting, it also works great when it comes to soothing your digestive tract. Try to add some natural ginger to your diet to relieve your symptoms related to heartburn. If you are wondering how just simply prepare fresh ginger tea at home by boiling some ginger in water (sliced or shredded), or you can also grate ginger into a stir-fry. However, if you look for something easier, you can still buy some ginger supplements or tea at a health food store.
3. Drink herbal teas
While ginger tea seems to be effective, you can try other herbal teas as well. For example, you can benefit from drinking peppermint, marshmallow root, or slippery elm teas. However, make sure to consult your healthcare provider before trying any herbal teas during pregnancy.
4. Try apple cider vinegar
If you want to calm down your stomach acids, then it may be worth giving a shot to apple cider vinegar. Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of water and mix it. Then drink this solution once a day and wait for great results!
This reason vinegar can work is that it adds more acidity to your stomach that many pregnant women are lacking. If you think this might be your issue, you can also talk to your doctor about other ways to boost your digestion such as a hydrochloric acid supplement.
5. Eat pineapple or papaya
Very often, heartburn is caused by slow digestion. This is why it can help you if you eat some foods that contain digestive enzymes. For example, if you love pineapple or papaya, eat a few slices of them after your meals to enhance your digestion.
6. Pay attention to your eating habits
Changing your eating habits can also help ease your symptoms of heartburn. Here are a few useful tips that may be beneficial for you:
- Eat slowly and focus on chewing every bite thoroughly.
- Eat smaller meals and more frequently than huge meals only 3 times a day.
- Don’t drink while you are eating. Instead, drink some water between your meals (the water can dilute your stomach acid and further slow digestion).
- If possible, avoid eating foods a few hours before going to bed.
- Avoid consuming heartburn-triggering foods and beverages, such as spicy and acidic foods, fatty foods, chocolate, carbonated drinks, and caffeine.
- Once you finish eating, stay upright for about an hour.
- Consider chewing gum (sugar-free!) after your meals.
7. Change your sleep habits
If you are dealing with heartburn, you might need to pay attention to your sleep habits as well. Avoid sleeping on your right side as it can place your stomach into a higher position than your esophagus. Consider sleeping on your left side to reduce heartburn.
Additionally, you can also use pillows to lift your upper body during sleep. A wedge pillow like this helped me a lot on especially bad nights!
Consider going for a short walk after your meal since it can encourage your digestion.
Also, it may be a good idea to exercise regularly, as having a healthy weight can help reduce the risk for heartburn.
Need some guidance? This is my favorite exercise and nutrition pregnancy program!
9. Try probiotics
Taking probiotic supplements that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus are also often recommended to reduce heartburn symptoms. These “friendly” bacteria can help restore the balance in your gut between good and “bad” bacteria. However, just like in the case of all home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy, ask for your doctor’s opinion before taking these supplements.
Bonus: I found probiotics helped me stay regular and avoid constipation as well (another serious pregnancy issue!). Garden of life probiotics made specifically for pregnancy are my absolute favorite!
10. Consider alternative medicine options
If you are open to trying unusual/holistic solutions, then you can consider some of the popular alternative medicine options. These treatment options include relaxation techniques (for example, yoga, muscle relaxation) and acupuncture as well.
Related read: 11 Natural Ways to Combat And Beat Pregnancy Fatigue
If nothing works
Hopefully, the above-mentioned lifestyle changes and remedies will help you get rid of or relieve your uncomfortable symptoms of heartburn. Thus, you can enjoy this wonderful period of your life!
However, if nothing works or you experience severe symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider about other options, such as medication. They may recommend you some effective over-the-counter medications or prescribe something else that is considered safe to take during pregnancy.
Do you know some other effective home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy? I would love to hear them out!