What is is?
Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat (acid reflux). Women who have never suffered with heartburn may find they start to suffer with it when they’re pregnant, typically in the second and third trimester. This can be because of hormonal changes, or because your growing baby is pressing against your stomach.
What can help improve heartburn?
· Eating smaller meals more often, rather than three large meals a day, can help reduce heartburn. This is because food doesn’t digest as quickly during pregnancy, so food sits in the stomach for longer. For this reason, overeating can also cause heartburn.
· Avoid spicy and greasy foods as these are harder to digest. Also avoid highly acidic foods such as citrus fruits.
· Stop eating at least an hour and a half before you go to sleep, to ensure your food is digested fully.
· Sleeping completely flat can make heartburn worse during pregnancy. Sleeping slightly elevated can relieve symptoms, try doing this with multiple pillows under your head, neck and upper back.
· Try to drink before or after a meal rather than during, as drinking will increase the contents in the stomach.
If none of the methods listed above help to ease your symptoms, then there are medications that can be taken such as antacids. These work by neutralising acid in the stomach. Most of these can be bought without a prescription however we advise you speak to your doctor or midwife before taking them because you will want to avoid certain chemicals.