Is heartburn in pregnancy normal? Know what to do

In pregnancy, a series of changes occur in the woman’s body. Some are just physical, but others can affect well-being. Among them, heartburn .

Having heartburn in pregnancy is not uncommon, causing women to experience constant discomfort. Therefore, it is important to know more about the framework.

Is heartburn in pregnancy normal?

Yes. Heartburn, also known as heartburn, is a very common complaint during pregnancy. Many women experience this malaise during pregnancy, and it can last for a few minutes and even hours in some cases. However, this situation is considered common at this stage.

This problem causes an uncomfortable feeling that occurs when acid from the stomach rises into the esophagus and mouth. This causes a burning sensation that spreads through the throat and chest.

A survey showed that between 17% and 45% of pregnant women had heartburn at some point.

In addition to the burning sensation, it is common for the pregnant woman to experience burning and sore throat, swelling in the stomach area, increased salivation, bitter taste in the mouth , pain near the ribs, belching more frequently and also presenting poor digestion.

In general, women who already had heartburn or had gastritis and reflux before pregnancy are more likely to experience this discomfort.

What causes heartburn in pregnancy?

Several factors increase the risk of heartburn in pregnant women. One is reduced pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter, which separates the esophagus from the stomach. Because of this, the acid passes from the stomach to the esophagus more easily.

The fact that the uterus expands also causes extra pressure on the stomach, which can make heartburn worse. The more the uterus grows, the more likely the stomach is to contract and increase this malaise.

In addition, some hormones responsible for pregnancy delay digestion, increasing the risk of discomfort.

This is the case of progesterone , also known as the “pregnancy hormone” and which acts as a muscle relaxant . In excess, it allows stomach acid to return more easily through the esophagus and even through the throat.

In addition, progesterone maintains the stomach’s contents longer than normal in the organ. In this way, digestion slows down and the stomach becomes fuller for longer, which increases the risk of heartburn in future mothers.

The good news is that there are no long-term complications related to heartburn in pregnancy, causing only this temporary discomfort. And the symptom disappears automatically after the child is born.

Although it does not pose risks to the mother’s health and does not compromise the baby’s development, this discomfort can prevent the pregnant woman from eating properly. This can cause weight loss, so the situation must be closely monitored by a specialist.

If heartburn comes with other symptoms such as severe pain in the stomach or ribs, it is important to find out if everything is okay or is the symptom of a more serious illness.

When does heartburn start during pregnancy?

Heartburn can appear at any time during pregnancy, but it is more common during the second and third trimesters.

According to a survey, approximately 39% of women had heartburn in the first trimester. And 72% reported the symptom in the third trimester.

It is more common at the end of pregnancy because the uterus is more expanded and presses the stomach. This makes it easier for the more acidic content to return to the esophagus and bring about this unpleasant symptom.

What medicine can the pregnant woman take to relieve heartburn?

It is very important that pregnant women report heartburn to the doctor who monitors the pregnancy. After the diagnosis, the obstetrician can indicate which is the best medicine to control the symptoms.

Some medications can help neutralize the acid in the stomach and suppress the burning sensation. But it is worth emphasizing that this medication should only be taken under medical guidance.

The self-medication , or taking medicine on their own, can be quite risky for both the mother and the baby.

Antacids are usually consumed in cases of heartburn, but their indiscriminate use can be very harmful and even aggravate the problem.

In addition, there are several types available for purchase at pharmacies and it is not safe to choose either one or to ingest in inadequate quantities. It is known that some can be toxic to children, cause swelling in pregnant women or complications during pregnancy.

In addition to the use of the medication, pregnant women can be instructed to make changes in their routine to control heartburn.

See details below:

  • Choose foods well: some foods like citrus fruits, chocolate, soft drinks, caffeine, tomatoes and acidic or fatty foods can slow digestion and cause heartburn. Pregnant women can be instructed to decrease or avoid the consumption of these items;
  • Fractionation of meals : it may be indicated to fractionate meals at least three times a day. This helps to prevent the stomach from becoming overloaded and emptying more quickly. It is important to chew your food well and avoid consuming liquids during meals;
  • Do not smoke or drink: these habits should be avoided as they can relax the valve that maintains the stomach contents and prevents it from returning. In addition, they can compromise the baby’s formation;
  • Think about clothes: it is recommended to avoid wearing tight clothes during pregnancy. This is because they can increase the pressure in the abdomen and the risk of the symptom;

Can fruits relieve heartburn in pregnancy?

It depends. Some fruits can relieve heartburn in pregnancy, but others can make the symptom worse.

The non-acidic ones are easy to digest and nutritious, not aggravating the condition. Are they:

  • Apple : it is rich in fibers and has a healing action, helping to control burning;
  • Banana : it is considered a natural antacid, that is, it relieves heartburn quickly;
  • Papaya : contains an enzyme called papain, which helps to improve digestion and reduces heartburn;
  • Watermelon : because it has enough water, it helps in digestion, neutralizes stomach acid, reducing reflux.

Now citrus fruits such as lemon and orange should be avoided, as they can worsen heartburn symptoms in pregnant women.

Teas pregnant women can take for heartburn

Teas are very popular drinks with scientifically proven benefits. But can pregnant women who suffer from heartburn benefit?

It depends. There are few scientific studies that talk about the benefits of teas for pregnant women. So it takes a lot of care and moderation before drinking.

What is known is that ginger tea can be safe during pregnancy and relieve symptoms of heartburn and nausea. But it must be consumed in small quantities so as not to compromise the pregnancy.

A survey of more than 1,200 pregnant women showed that those who ate small amounts of ginger reduced nausea, especially morning sickness.

However, the consumption of ginger tea must be guided by a doctor to avoid problems for the pregnant woman and baby. And also to know what is the recommended and safe amount for future mothers and fetuses.

Fruit teas are also risk free and a slice of ginger can be added to improve heartburn.

It is worth mentioning that although they are tasty, not all teas are recommended during pregnancy.

Caffeinated teas, such as black , white, green tea, are natural stimulants that should be consumed in moderation or excluded from the diet during pregnancy.

In excess, some may also increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth. Therefore, it is essential to always consult a doctor (a) before drinking any type of tea to avoid heartburn.

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Heartburn in pregnancy is a very common condition, but it can bring discomfort to women. Therefore, it is worth understanding the situation and knowing when it is necessary to seek help. In any case, notifying the doctor accompanying the pregnancy is essential.

Learn more tips for having a healthy pregnancy on our portal!

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