If you are pregnant, you will definitely suffer from heartburn more than before. If you are looking for a way to control heartburn in pregnancy, read on.
Are there any foods that can reduce heartburn in pregnancy?
Can milk control gestational reflux and reduce heartburn?
In the following, we intend to answer the above questions scientifically and in simple way:
Heartburn in pregnancy will usually be normal and harmless, but sometimes it can be very painful. The burning starts from the bottom of the chest and usually continues to the throat. Esophageal reflux, or GERD for short, can cause heartburn. In other words, the most common clinical sign of a classic GERD is heartburn.
In gastroesophageal reflux disease, which also includes gastric acid, the esophagus and stomach move upward toward the esophagus and throat due to hormonal changes in pregnancy or an increase in intra-abdominal pressure following an increase in uterine size and pressure on the stomach. Sour and bitter taste in the mouth and throat, sore throat, sputum in the back of the throat and cough will be other manifestations of reflux.
Why does reflux and heartburn increase during pregnancy?
Both physical and hormonal changes are effective in causing transient reflux.
- Hormonal changes:
During pregnancy, changes occur in a pregnant woman’s hormones. Following these changes, progesterone increases to prepare and empower the uterus to maintain the fetus. On the other hand, progesterone is associated with relaxation of all muscles and ligaments of the pregnant mother’s body. As a result, the lower esophageal and gastric muscles relax, so gastric juice and acid will push back up more easily than before.
This upward return will be the most common clinical manifestation of heartburn. On the other hand, increased progesterone also reduces the movements of the stomach wall. Progesterone mainly slows down the digestion of food and the progression and movement of food throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Delay in gastric emptying and constipation will be side effects of increased progesterone.
Slow digestion forces the stomach to secrete more acid and digestive enzymes. All of the above items are associated with increased gastric juice rejection into the esophagus.
On the other hand, following the increase of gestational age and the passage of weeks of pregnancy, fetal growth gradually increases the size of the uterus, the enlarged uterus puts pressure on the gastric outlet and lower stomach, and reflux will intensify.
So heartburn in pregnancy will be a common issue.
Heartburn in pregnancy
Heartburn in pregnancy begins to intensify from the second trimester so that Thirty percent of pregnant women will experience heartburn in the first trimester.
Two-thirds of pregnant women will experience heartburn from the middle of pregnancy, the second trimester, which increases as the pregnancy progresses.
It is interesting to know that with delivery and removal of the fetus and placenta, the painful symptoms will disappear, so do not worry about the heartburn after delivery.
Pregnant women usually report an exacerbation of heartburn from the 30th week of pregnancy, this is exactly the time when the uterus has become so large that it occupies the entire abdominal cavity, pressing on the stomach and pushing it upwards.
In these conditions, the acid and contents of the stomach enter the esophagus and throat more than before, and in addition to heartburn, they will cause a bitter and sour taste in the throat and mouth.
Where will heartburn be felt?
Heartburn in pregnant women starts from behind the sternum and continues to the throat. If you have pain that is felt just above your abdomen and under your ribs, if the pain is concentrated on the right side of your upper abdomen and you feel lethargic and bored with the pain, you should inform your doctor to rule out preeclampsia and other liver complications of pregnancy.
Liver complications are possible during pregnancy, which can sometimes be life-threatening for the mother and fetus. So take upper and right abdominal pain seriously. If you have heartburn, anorexia, weight loss and difficulty swallowing, be sure to consult your doctor immediately. Liver problems are common during pregnancy.
What accompanies the exacerbation of heartburn in pregnancy?
- Eat large amounts of food in one meal
- Fatty food
- Processed foods
- Carbonated drinks
- Industrial Fruit juices
- Lie down while eating or immediately after eating
- Wear tight-fitting clothes
- Wear tight pants
- Fasten the pregnancy belt
What are some ways to reduce and control heartburn in pregnancy?
You may not be able to completely eliminate heartburn, but be sure that by observing the following, you can greatly reduce gastric reflux and control heartburn.
Consider the strategies recommended by doctors to control gestational reflux and reduce heartburn in pregnant women.
- Control your weight gain closely:
Weight gain during pregnancy should be very gradual and standard. Being overweight will increase the pressure inside the abdomen and make heartburn worse, so try to gain weight according to the plan recommended by your doctor.
- Reduce the amount of food you eat and instead increase the number of times you eat:
To reduce the severity and pain of heartburn, choose six small meals throughout the day and reduce the volume of each meal so as not to put too much pressure on your digestive system.
When the volume of food eaten is reduced, the volume of digestive acids and enzymes secreted from the stomach also decreases, and the process of digestion and movement of food in the gastrointestinal tract will be better and more complete.
Do not drink water or fluids just before eating and just after meals and during meals. Doctors say that mixing fluids with food in the stomach causes the stomach to dilate and will greatly increase heartburn.
Cut the bites into small pieces and chew them properly, chewing thoroughly and slowly will improve digestion.
Well-cooked food reduces the work of the stomach in digesting food. In addition, fast food is accompanied by swallowing large volumes of air and stomach distention, which worsens heartburn.
Harmful foods for heartburn
Avoid the following foods that aggravate the reflux process and thus heartburn:
- Caffeine (Caffeine greatly relaxes the esophagus and stomach entrance and increases reflux, so limit consumption of chocolate, coffee, Nescafe, black tea, cocoa and energy drinks)
- Fried foods, fatty snacks, chips
- All kinds of cabbage
- Mint (even chewing gum and perfumes containing mint will greatly increase reflux and heartburn)
- Carbonated drinks
- Fatty cheese
- Solid oils
- Industrial sweets
- Fatty breads
- cream cake
Follow other tips that are necessary
Be sure not to sleep until three hours after eating, do not lie down after eating.
Reflux is aggravated during sleep at night. To reduce the severity of heartburn at night, use reflux pillows or place a few books or bricks under the bases of the upper part of your bed in order to rise the head of the bed so that you do not fall over it during sleep.
Doctors say that it is better to avoid putting a few pillows under the head, and in cases where this is the only solution, the head and neck and a little of your shoulders should be on the pillows at the same time.
The height of the top of the be should be about two to four inches so that you can sit comfortably on the bed and do not slide down the bed.
Pay attention to the clothes you wear. Your clothes should be loose and comfortable, tight clothes will intensify the pressure on your stomach, reflux and heartburn.
Wear standard maternity shirts and avoid wearing skinny jeans or tight-fitting clothes.
The way you sit and the position of your body can also be accompanied by an intensification of heartburn
So pay attention to the following points to reduce heartburn in pregnancy:
- Sit up straight when eating.
- Do not bend forward for at least one hour after eating.
- Do not lie down for at least two hours after eating.
- If you have to bend, be sure to bend your knees instead of bending at the waist and for example sit on your knees.
- There are also medications that slow down the movement of your digestive tract and empty your stomach and can aggravate reflux. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking.
- If you are taking an iron supplement, your doctor needs to use the right antacid to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, but to prevent the antacids from interfering with the iron supplement, you should take the antacid two hours after taking your iron tablets.
Ways to treat heartburn in pregnancy
- Some people agree with chewing gum after a meal and say that increasing saliva after chewing gum may neutralize stomach acid in the throat and esophagus and reduce heartburn.
- Avoid salt and medicines that contain sodium
Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce heartburn during pregnancy.
These drugs are possible:
- Suitable antacids
- H2 inhibitors such as ranitidine, famotidine
- Peritonitis pump inhibitors or PPIs such as pantoprazole, omeprazole
Do not take medications without your doctor’s prescription, although these medications will be safe during pregnancy.
The important thing is to choose and implement a treatment to reduce heartburn in pregnancy that is safe and secure and does not pose a risk to you and your fetus.
Use only the medication prescribed by your doctor and only in the amount prescribed.
If you are at risk for high blood pressure during pregnancy or preeclampsia, your doctor will avoid prescribing heartburn medications and will advise you to follow the care tips or use traditional methods to reduce heartburn.
Traditional ways to reduce heartburn
- Do not neglect the balanced consumption of unsalted almonds
- Dissolve a tablespoon of honey in a glass of hot milk and drink when the heat is mild.
- Some agree and some disagree about the use of milk as a treatment for heartburn in pregnancy.
- There is also a lot of disagreement about how to consume milk.
- Some say that the best way is to consume cold milk
- Cold milk is considered to be an effective substance to reduce gastric acid secretion and it is said that cold milk can absorb excess acid in the stomach.
To reduce heartburn in pregnancy, this group says to drink milk cold and without any additives. In addition, this group considers drinking low-fat buttermilk and curd to be suitable for relieving heartburn.
- Natural coconut water reduces the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease by controlling intragastric acid.
Melon is considered to be a very useful food in the fight against stomach acid. The soothing effects of this food can soothe heartburn.
If you are pregnant and suffering from heartburn, one of the easiest ways to reduce this reflux is to consume warm water, do not neglect to drink hot water to relieve heartburn.
Milk and its effect in reducing reflux and heartburn
Studies have shown that the calcium content in milk can relieve heartburn.
But why calcium?
Calcium carbonate is said to neutralize stomach acid, often using calcium bicarbonate as an antacid.
Many years ago, an extensive study was performed on about 12,000 people with GERD and Finally, it was found that milk was able to reduce the symptoms of GERD in this group.
Calcium is also considered a necessary element to increase muscle strength. Calcium may be able to reduce the incidence of gastric reflux and its symptoms such as heartburn in pregnancy by strengthening the muscles of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and prevent the rejection of gastric juice into the esophagus and throat.
On the other hand, the high protein content of milk may be effective in improving reflux.
Studies show that people who eat the right amount of protein are less likely to get heartburn from reflux than others. So less food will stay in the esophagus in the stomach and heartburn will be reduced. On the other hand, gastritis itself is associated with increased acid secretion in the stomach, so it is not yet possible to say with certainty whether milk can reduce heartburn in pregnancy or No, but if you calm your heartburn by drinking milk, you can continue to do so.
One cup of cow’s milk will contain twenty-one grams of calcium, eight grams of protein and eight grams of fat.
Fats are strongly associated with increased reflux and exacerbation of heartburn, so high-fat milk will not only not improve reflux, but will also exacerbate heartburn, so to relieve heartburn in pregnancy, drink milk with zero percent fat.
Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk, and in addition, its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties are very evident in goat’s milk, but its fat is high.
You can also use almond milk because it has alkaline and anti-inflammatory properties
More research is needed to confirm the effects of goat’s milk and almond milk in reducing heartburn in pregnancy.