5 Ways to Minimize Heartburn
Anna kicked us off last week with post one in a three-post series about GI symptoms during pregnancy. Check out her 5 Simple Steps to Relieve Bloating.
This week I am talking about heartburn. As I’ve entered into my third trimester, I have experienced a lot of it. Anyone else? Prior to pregnancy, heartburn was not something I had to deal with, so this spicy little symptom has been pretty brutal.
Below are my top 5 strategies to minimize heartburn, but I would love to hear yours as well! Please share in the comments below. Knowledge is power, mama.
Eat small, frequent meals.
When you are pregnant, the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between your stomach and esophagus, can become more relaxed. This allows food in the stomach to travel back up into the esophagus which can lead to the burning sensation you feel in your chest. Filling up the stomach with larger meals puts more pressure on that esophageal sphincter and can lead to increased reflux. In order to lessen this mechanism, try to eat smaller portions, more frequently. This will cause less distention in the stomach and hopefully prevent undigested food from coming back up. Chewing more thoroughly than you normally do can also help. Now more than ever, slow down and savor every bite.
Avoid spicy or acidic foods.
Needless to say if your food is coming back up, spicy and acidic foods are going to cause the most burning discomfort. Things to avoid include hot sauce, tomatoes, citrus, caffeine, chocolate and peppermint. Keep an eye on what foods cause the most symptoms for you and then remove those things from your diet. Anything with tomato sauce had to go for me.
Choose soothing foods.
For breakfast try oatmeal and banana or scrambled eggs with avocado and light salt, hold the pepper. For lunches toss up a salad with leafy greens, olive oil and grilled chicken. Baked fish with veggies and sweet potatoes roasted in olive oil and a little salt is a good go-to dinner.
Stay upright after meals.
Keep things moving the way you want them to, down the digestive tract, not back up, by staying upright for at least 1 hour after eating. If your heartburn is really bad when you lay down for bed at night, try elevating your pillow or moving your dinner up an hour earlier than you would normally eat.
Give yourself permission to take some Pepcid.
To be totally honest with you, I tried all of the things listed above and my heartburn raged on. After two weeks feeling like someone had lit a fire in my chest, I asked my OB what she would suggest. My doctor recommended Pepcid once or twice daily about 30 minutes before meals and placed a prescription for me (although you can buy this over the counter as well). Pepcid is safe for pregnancy but I recommend consulting your doctor before you take anything. This has made a world of difference for me and my quality of life has improved tremendously. If you truly can’t find relief, you don’t need to be a hero. You may only need Pepcid for a few days while the inflammation in your esophagus calms down, then the above strategies might work.
Hope this helps! Don’t forget to share your remedies in the comments below :)