Heartburn and indigestion
Fortunately, heartburn usually ends with the birth of your baby and your body goes back to its nonpregnant state. Most spicy, greasy, fatty foods known for causing heartburn are also likely to cause problems for pregnant women.
Some women experience heartburn or a sensation that the skin of the stomach is stretching. Stomach or abdomen pain is more common during early pregnancy, when hormonal shifts can trigger the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness. In the middle of the second trimester, at around 20 weeks, stomach pain usually goes away.
Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine during pregnancy. Indigestion is the common term for discomfort or pain felt after eating as a result of excess stomach acid. Heartburn occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus are unable to prevent stomach acid from passing back into the esophagus.
Heartburn can show itself as a discomfort (especially after eating), bloating, wind, burping and nausea. Youâ€™ll be able to compare notes with a lot of other mum friends as up to eight out of ten pregnant women get heartburn (NICE, 2017) . Heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy.
Symptoms of indigestion include burping, bloating and feeling generally uncomfortable (NHS 2014) . Unfortunately, digestion problems can also make pregnancy sickness worse (CKS 2017, NHS 2014) . Heartburn happens when your natural stomach acid comes up towards your throat. During pregnancy, your growing womb presses on your stomach, pushing the acid upwards. At the same time, hormonal changes relax the valve which normally keeps the acid in your stomach, so more of it can get through (NHS 2014) .
But talk to your OB or midwife before beginning an OTC med like Tagamet to treat acid reflux. â€œWe want to make sure that it wonâ€™t interact with anything else you might be taking,â€ Collins says. Most often, acid reflux in pregnancy is diagnosed based on symptoms alone. But if you keep getting it after pregnancy, your doc may order additional testing, including an upper endoscopy, a test thatâ€™s used to look at the inside of the upper digestive tract.
The size of the baby in the tummy (abdomen) causes an increased pressure on the stomach. Acid reflux occurs when some acid leaks up (refluxes) into the gullet (oesophagus). The lining of the oesophagus can cope with a certain amount of acid. However, if more than the usual amount of acid refluxes, it may cause some inflammation on the lining of the oesophagus, which can cause symptoms.
Ask your doctor about using over-the-counter medications such as Tums or Maalox, which are generally safe to use during pregnancy. You may find that liquid heartburn relievers are more effective in treating heartburn, because they coat the esophagus. Drink less while eating. Drinking large amounts while eating may increase the risk of acid reflux and heartburn. With gravity’s help, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, keeps stomach acid in the stomach.
What does heartburn during pregnancy feel like?
The emptier the stomach at bedtime, the less likely there will be reflux of acid. After meals, pregnant women are prone to heartburn should not lie down. Heartburn usually begins in the first or second trimester of pregnancy and continues throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Drinking a glass of milk may relieve heartburn (the burning sensation from stomach acid leaking up into your gullet). You may want to keep a glass of milk beside your bed in case you wake up with heartburn in the night.
Once youâ€™ve determined you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor. If your test is negative and youâ€™re still experiencing pregnancy symptoms, you should check with your doctor.
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. 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). Dyspepsia in pregnancy is usually recognised by your typical symptoms. Investigations are generally not needed.
Sit up straight when you eat. This will take the pressure off your stomach.
Having a vague feeling of fullness in the upper stomach or abdomen is sometimes a symptom of severe constipation. Other symptoms might include gas, straining to have a bowel movement, and having very hard or small bowel movements. If you had gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) before pregnancy, heartburn is nothing new – but treating it during pregnancy might be.
As your pregnancy develops, your organs will be shifted and pushed upwards as your baby grows. This makes it more likely that you will experience heartburn as your digestion slows and the acid in your stomach is forced into your gullet. Abdominal pain is one of the most common pregnancy complaints. This does not mean that a woman should ignore it.