There are a range of over-the-counter treatments for heartburn. Always check with your GP, midwife or pharmacist before buying one (Harding 2017) . Some treatments may be unsafe for you and your unborn baby, or can cause tummy upsets, or circulation and breathing problems (NICE 2017) . Bending over or slumping can make heartburn worse, especially when you’re eating (Harding 2017) . Try to keep a good posture, and sit up at mealtimes or when you’re snacking, so you take the pressure off your stomach (NHS 2017) .
Pepto-Bismol is an over-the-counter medication used to relieve an upset stomach, heartburn, and diarrhea. Did you know that by the third trimester of pregnancy, three quarters of women will suffer from heartburn? In fact, heartburn can occur in up to 85% of pregnant women 1 . Always tell your pharmacist that you’re pregnant before buying heartburn medication – not all antacids are safe to take while pregnant. 8 out of 10 pregnant women experience heartburn.
For example, according to one study, 45.5 percent of pregnant women studied had GERD, 13.5 percent had regurgitation alone, 19.3 percent had heartburn alone, and 12.8 percent had both heartburn and regurgitation. Women may also have a difficult time distinguishing the difference between GERD and symptoms of pregnancy, like morning sickness, particularly in the first trimester. You shouldnâ€™t lie down soon after eating, as this provides a very easy path for stomach acid to get into the esophagus.
Try to relax and enjoy your food. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine during pregnancy. Always read the label. If symptoms are severe or prolonged, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. As a result, stomach acid is more likely to leak into the oesophagus and cause a burning pain in the chest and throat.
A consistent reduction in acid reflux will allow the esophagus to heal and become less sensitive. When you lie down, it makes it easier for stomach contents to rise up and cause you grief. Eating late at night will mean little time for your body to digest whatâ€™s in there before you try and get some rest. If you do get hungry before bed, try to eat something small and plain as a snack. By working out what foods cause your indigestion, you can reduce your chances of it happening.
Avoid greasy, spicy foods, especially close to bedtime. And avoid milk.
This group of medications is anti-inflammatory and known to have effects related to bleeding. It is usually safe to use when not pregnant. However, many medications can cross the placenta, making them unsafe during pregnancy.
Discuss any remedies the woman may be using to treat reflux. Advise women that if symptoms persist or become more severe, medication can be considered.
However, each woman is different. Being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have heartburn. It depends on many factors, including your physiology, diet, daily habits, and your pregnancy. During the third trimester, the growth of your baby can push your stomach out of its normal position, which can lead to heartburn. In addition, as your fetus grows during the second and third trimesters and your uterus expands to accommodate that growth, your stomach is under more pressure.
- During pregnancy, the stomach has prolonged gastric emptying times and the gastroesophageal sphincter has decreased tone.
- Concerns are less during the second trimester and even less during the third trimester when most critical development of the fetus already has taken place.
- If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating that food to see if your symptoms get better.
- Together, these changes lead to reflux and possibly combine with decreased esophageal tone to cause ptyalism, or spitting, during pregnancy as well as reflux and heartburn.
- Antacids, histamine-2 receptor antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors can be used safely during pregnancy, as large studies have been published with no evidence of adverse fetal effects.
- Ask your doctor for the best option.
Pregnant women should eat a variety of fruits to provide them with healthful nutrients that may also help to relieve their symptoms. Learn which fruits to eat during pregnancy here. In later pregnancy, your growing baby pushes your stomach upwards. This slows digestion and forces acids up from your stomach into your food pipe (NHS 2017, NICE 2017) .
Although there are no studies in pregnant women, animal studies have shown no effects on the fetuses of animals. Nizatidine (Axid) should not be used because it has been shown to have adverse effects on animal fetuses, although at much greater doses than those used in humans. If lifestyle changes are not adequate, treatments with medications that are minimally absorbed into the body (and therefore not a potential threat to the fetus) could be started. Treatments include antacids (for example, Maalox, Mylanta), alginic acid/antacid combination (Gaviscon), and sucralfate (Carafate).
Change your eating and drinking habits
The most frequently suggested changes include eating smaller meal portions which will decrease the amount of food in the stomach. By eating smaller, more frequent meals, you may be able to reduce reflux symptoms while still maintaining a healthy weight. In general, the likelihood of having any symptoms of heartburn or regurgitation increases as pregnancy continues. Knowing which symptoms you have is important when talking about prevention and treatment.
You’re most likely to get heartburn in the third trimester (last 3 months) of your pregnancy. Liquid Gaviscon is a combined alginate and antacid medication most often recommended for use by pregnant women (NICE 2017) . Whichever is recommended for you, itâ€™s important stick to the recommended dose. What treatments are available for heartburn in pregnancy?
( Heartburn, anyone?) You might also feel nauseous. Burping and regurgitation can also be signs of acid reflux. PPIs are used in non-pregnant women with great success. They are considered safe in pregnancy with no significant increased risk of major birth defects, even when used in the first trimester. So, in the absence of other risk factors, and no pain relief from traditional over-the-counter methods, a medication like Omerparzole is considered a viable option.
Diet, Food & Fitness
Acid reflux is â€œvery, very commonâ€ during pregnancy, says Michelle Collins, CNM, an assistant professor of nurse-midwifery at Vanderbilt University. More than half of all pregnant women will experience acid reflux. Itâ€™s when stomach acid doesnâ€™t stay put in your stomach and creeps up into your esophagus. Acid reflux is more common in pregnancy because progesterone, the main hormone of pregnancy, slows your digestive system. That, combined with the pressure of a growing baby, increases the possibility that stomach acid will make its way upward.