When a woman is pregnant, it is not uncommon to have heartburn. Whether it is just once in a while or quite a bit, it is uncomfortable and annoying. Sometimes, it is all she can think about - “this awful heartburn is so irritating!” There are many changes that come with pregnancy – physical, emotional, and more. During pregnancy, heartburn can be one of the more difficult annoyances to overcome, but it doesn't have to be.
What Causes Heartburn, Anyhow?
Heartburn is caused by a disruption in the digestive system. After the food that we eat goes from the mouth, down the throat, and down the esophagus, it must pass the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in order to get into the stomach. This sphincter is normally closed, other than specific times – like when we swallow. As the food we eat continues its journey, it sits in the stomach for a bit as the acids of the stomach digest it more. If the lower esophageal sphincter isn't closed all the way, the acid in the stomach can come back up into the esophagus and make it hurt.
Heartburn is common after eating too much, or when lying down, lifting, straining, bending over, and coughing. Some foods can aggravate it, like coffee, or foods that are spicy or with a high fat content. But none of those explain why heartburn and pregnancy can go hand in hand. Actually, heartburn is also often brought on by clothing that is too tight, obesity, and stress, along with pregnancy hormones. As you can see, heartburn is common in pregnancy, since tight clothing, and stress are both pervasive during pregnancy.
How Can One Deal With Heartburn During Pregnancy?
Taking an antacid is the quickest, easiest way to deal with heartburn. While you shouldn't take antacids often, on an on-going basis, as a once in a while solution it can get rid of the burn quickly. Antacids do not help heal the damage and pain in the esophagus, but they are a quick, over-the-counter answer to the pain of heartburn during pregnancy – or any other time.
For a different alternative, try a little baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Stir up a teaspoon or two in a glass of water and drink it. The sodium bicarbonate can help relieve the heartburn – sometimes for several days. The downside is, it doesn't taste very good to drink. But the upside of having a few days without heartburn can be worth it for many people. If you suffer from heartburn during pregnancy, it is well worth trying for some relief.