Heartburn in pregnancy: when it starts, how to avoid it and what to eat

It is difficult to find anyone who has never felt this upset in the stomach. The heartburn is a symptom rather uncomfortable, occurring for various reasons. In pregnancy it is usually common as well. It starts to become a more common problem especially at the beginning and at the end of pregnancy.

In the last few months, when the baby is much older, heartburn happens because the fetus compresses the mother’s organs. This pressure can cause the contents in the stomach to return to the esophagus (reflux), causing the symptom.

In general, it is common for pregnant women to report a burning sensation in the throat and chest, reflux and a greater desire to burp.

An episode of heartburn in pregnancy is similar to a case of heartburn in anyone, which is different is the cause, because, in addition to hormones, the growing baby may have a share of guilt in this.

Continue reading to understand more about heartburn in pregnancy!


What causes heartburn in pregnancy? It’s normal?

-Yeah . It is normal and expected that pregnant women will have this symptom. To understand why heartburn in pregnancy happens, it is interesting to understand what can cause it in general – that is, in non-pregnant people.

The stomach produces gastric juice with substances that act in the digestion of food. It is quite strong, but does not affect the stomach, because the organ is covered by a protective mucosa.

However, in other regions, such as the esophagus (structure above the stomach), there is no such protective layer preventing gastric juice from causing any damage.

A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (which makes opening and closing movements for the passage of food) is responsible for preventing stomach acid from going back or up the throat.

In pregnant women, however, there are two conditions that can interfere with the perfect functioning of this system.

One of them is the size of the uterus (or the baby), which ends up causing greater pressure on the woman’s stomach, facilitating the return of gastric juice. Therefore, the condition is common at the end of pregnancy, when the baby is already very big.

Another factor is that a woman’s musculature may become more flabby during pregnancy, due to an action caused by hormones such as progesterone . This causes the lower esophageal sphincter to become less toned, facilitating reflux.

What are the symptoms of heartburn in pregnancy?

The pregnant woman with heartburn feels the same symptoms as other people with the condition, such as:

  • Burning sensation;
  • Burning and sore throat;
  • Swelling in the stomach area;
  • Bitter taste in the mouth;
  • Pain near the ribs;
  • Involuntary and constant belching;
  • Indigestion.

If the pregnant woman feels very strong pain that does not go away, she should see a gastroenterologist, as it may be an indication of a more serious digestive problem.

Pain in the right side and on the top of the belly, associated with feeling sick, can also be a symptom of some complication in the liver.

If other symptoms appear or if they are persistent, the pregnant woman should seek the obstetrician to investigate the cause.

How to prevent heartburn in pregnancy?

The best way to prevent or alleviate heartburn in pregnancy is through food. Some foods should be avoided, for example, fried foods, sauces, chocolate, coffee, citrus fruits and soft drinks.

If the pregnant woman has severe heartburn, it is good to avoid soup or drink a lot of water. This can worsen the discomfort caused by reflux. It is best to consume some food that helps to push the acidic content into the stomach.

Other tips that help to soothe and prevent are:

  • Eat fractionally, in small portions;
  • Chew your food well, putting a small amount of food in your mouth;
  • Do not drink liquids during the meal;
  • Do not smoke;
  • Do not eat or drink too close to bedtime;
  • Sleep in a position where the trunk is higher;
  • Check the use of medications that may be associated;
  • Wear comfortable clothes that do not pinch the stomach area;
  • Avoid slower digesting foods, such as kale, granola, feijoada, barbecue etc;
  • Avoid fatty foods such as snacks, margarine, butter, yellow cheeses, ham etc.

If your heartburn remains intense even with these tips, seek medical help.

What to take for heartburn in pregnancy?

If self-medication is a risk for all people in general, in pregnancy the alert must be doubly reinforced. The most recommended is to try to avoid and alleviate heartburn through changes in diet, as in the tips mentioned above.

When, even following these steps, the pain remains persistent, it is understandable that some pregnant women want to resort to medications in search of immediate relief.

However, the use of medicines inappropriately can cause risks to the health of the mother and baby.

The ideal is to see a doctor so that he can assess the need for medication and, if necessary, prescribe which one should be taken and how.

In addition to consulting a doctor, it is always important to read the instructions for any medication carefully. It should include whether the use is allowed during pregnancy and what possible adverse reactions.

If the pain is so severe, not even with the prescribed medication, it is necessary to investigate whether there are other more serious factors causing this discomfort.

Does heartburn in pregnancy mean that the baby is hairy?

No . This, in fact, is nothing more than popular belief. It may be a coincidence in some cases, but heartburn has nothing to do with the baby’s capillary amount, scientifically.

Because it is a physiological change in the woman’s body, with a hairy baby or not, it is possible that the pregnant woman will experience heartburn. Care to alleviate and prevent discomfort is the same regardless of the physical characteristics of the fetus.

It is common for pregnant women to experience heartburn during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters.

Some simple tips can help to ease the discomfort, but if it is not enough the ideal is to seek help from a professional.

To learn more about pregnancy and health, follow the Healthy Minute!