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For more than 70% of expectant mothers, the joys of pregnancy can be overshadowed by persistent heartburn. This very common symptom is distinguished by pain or discomfort in the chest area, often just above the breastbone, and is often marked by an unpleasant burning sensation. Pregnancy heartburn is caused primarily by the hormones that are released into the digestive system, increasing the flow of stomach acids into the esophagus, and can be exacerbated by certain foods or positions. As your baby grows and your uterus becomes heavier, the increase in pressure against your stomach can exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn, which is why the condition seems to worsen during the third trimester.
Although certain types of acid reflux medications are not recommended during pregnancy, there are several home remedies that can help relieve the symptoms:
• Instead of consuming large meals at one sitting, graze on several smaller portions throughout the day.
• Avoid spicy, greasy foods, which tend to aggravate heartburn.
• Increase your intake of milk and other dairy products, which have been shown to alleviate symptoms.
• Avoid lying down for an hour or so after eating, allowing your food ample time to digest and helping to prevent acid reflux.
• Instead of drinking throughout a meal, hold off on liquids until you’re finished eating.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|