If you raise the head of the bed by 10-15 cm (with sturdy blocks or bricks under the bed’s legs), this will help gravity to keep acid from refluxing into the gullet (oesophagus). When natural treatment options aren’t enough, you may need something more to deal with the heartburn. Talk to your doctor at your next prenatal visit or call the office if you can’t wait for relief. There are over-the-counter antacids and prescription medications that you may be able to take.
Heartburn / GERD Guide
The cause of heartburn (also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) during pregnancy is more complicated than in the non-pregnant state. The basic cause of heartburn – reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus – is the same. The lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle at the lower end of the esophagus that normally prevents acid from refluxing) is weak in pregnancy. This probably is an effect of the high levels of estrogens and progesterones that are a normal part of pregnancy.
This can sometimes force stomach acid up into the esophagus. Dyspepsia occurs at some point in around half of all pregnant women. Dyspepsia in pregnancy is usually due to reflux of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus. Dyspepsia in pregnancy is commonly due to acid reflux.
Your doctor may diagnose you with GERD. This means that your heartburn needs to be controlled to protect you from complications such as damage to the esophagus. Avoid foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn. Typical culprits include chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomato-based items, carbonated beverages, and caffeine. However, each woman is different.
What makes pregnancy different is the distortion of the organs in the abdomen and the increased abdominal pressure caused by the growing fetus. These changes clearly promote the reflux of acid.
If you find yourself downing bottles of antacids, your heartburn may have progressed to gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD). In that case, you may need a stronger treatment. Over-the-counter antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox may help you cope with occasional heartburn symptoms. Those made of calcium carbonate or magnesium are good options.
After meals, pregnant women are prone to heartburn should not lie down. Heartburn occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus are unable to prevent stomach acid from passing back into the esophagus. During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone causes the valve to relax, which can increase the frequency of heartburn.
The stomach acid breaks down the mucosa, which causes irritation and leads to the symptoms of indigestion. If you are pregnant and you have indigestion (dyspepsia), your symptoms will be the same as those of anyone else with the condition. When you have heartburn, or acid reflux, the LES relaxes enough to allow stomach acid to rise up into the esophagus. This can cause pain and burning in the chest area. Lillis, Charlotte.
Some medicines may make symptoms worse. It is unlikely that pregnant women would be taking any of these medicines, but check with your doctor if you think medication you are on could be making your symptoms worse. If symptoms return on most nights, it may help to go to bed with an empty, dry stomach. To do this, don’t eat in the last three hours before bedtime and don’t drink in the last two hours before bedtime.
admin January 20, 2010