Many women who are pregnant experience stomach discomfort that is often referred to as heartburn or sometimes simple indigestion. However, reflux in pregnancy is the correct name for this condition, which is generally harmless, but can be quite uncomfortable.
Fortunately, most cases can be treated safely with over-the-counter remedies , along with simple changes in diet and lifestyle. Many women experience reflux for the first time during pregnancy.
Causes of Reflux in Pregnancy
As is common to know, when a woman is pregnant, several changes occur in her body. Reflux in pregnancy is more common because progesterone, the main hormone in pregnant women, slows down the functioning of the digestive system.
Meanwhile, the growing uterus causes the baby’s pressure to push the stomach, which increases the possibility that the gastric juice contained in the stomach will do the opposite way , that is, to the throat.
In addition, some women find that the high iron content of prenatal vitamins can further irritate the stomach causing symptoms of heartburn, nausea and burning.
However, every woman is different. Being pregnant does not necessarily mean that you will have reflux . It depends on many factors, including your physiology, diet, daily habits and the course of the pregnancy itself.
Reflux Symptoms in Pregnancy
Some of the most common symptoms of reflux in pregnancy are:
- Burning sensation in the throat or upper chest;
- Belching and regurgitation can also be signs of acid reflux.
Are there any Reflux Tests in Pregnancy?
Most of the time, reflux in pregnancy is diagnosed based on symptoms only . But if the woman continues to experience this discomfort after pregnancy, the doctor may order additional tests, including an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, an exam used to directly observe the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, composed of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the intestine slender).
Is Reflux in Pregnancy Common?
Reflux in pregnancy is very common, more than half of all pregnant women will experience reflux symptoms.
Can Reflux in Pregnancy Affect My Baby?
Reflux in pregnancy will not affect the baby. Older people have the habit of saying that when a woman suffers from a lot of heartburn during pregnancy she will give birth to a hairy baby. Scientifically this is not true, because the heartburn felt caused by the gastric juice that comes back through the esophagus causing discomfort.
Pregnancy Reflux Treatment
The first thing to do when experiencing reflux symptoms in pregnancy, especially those that come back frequently , is to seek medical help. The doctor will probably prescribe antacids .
Liquid and tablet antacid medications work to neutralize the acid produced in the stomach. Chewable antacids made from calcium carbonate and liquid antacids containing magnesium hydroxide or magnesium oxide are also effective.
Avoid antacids with aluminum on the label, as this ingredient can cause constipation and possibly be toxic in large doses.
Good Home Remedies For Pregnancy Reflux
A small amount of ginger can help stimulate the production of saliva, as saliva is a natural antacid. Many women found relief by eating raw almonds , sucking elm lozenges (a mucous substance that when mixed with water, forms a smooth gel that coats and soothes) or by taking papain tablets.
Apple cider vinegar works very well, or even eating a red apple can help to alleviate the symptoms of reflux in pregnancy.
What can I do to prevent reflux in pregnancy?
Women who suffer from reflux in pregnancy should avoid foods and drinks that seem to make things worse . Caffeinated, carbonated and alcoholic beverages, along with citrus fruits, vegetables and juices, tend to worsen reflux symptoms in pregnancy.
Processed meats, chocolate, mint products and spicy, heavily seasoned, fried or fatty foods can also increase reflux symptoms.
Some women confuse mint with mint, while mint can be soothing to the stomach, mint tea relaxes the esophageal sphincter, the muscle that keeps the esophagus closed, making gastric juice easier to get back through the throat.
Other Resources to Ease Pregnancy Reflux
Mitigating reflux in pregnancy usually involves some tests of mistakes and successes. Slight changes in eating habits and consumption are often the safest methods for both mother and baby. The following tips can help relieve heartburn:
- Eat smaller meals more often and drink more fluids throughout the day, rather than having three large meals with a large volume of fluid as a habit.
- Avoid drinking fluids with meals. Drink only 1 to 2 hours after each meal.
- It is important to remember that you have to wait 2 to 3 hours after eating any food or liquid before going to bed or sleeping.
- Stand upright for at least an hour after a meal. A pleasant walk can also encourage digestion.
- Wear comfortable, not tight clothes.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Use cushions or pillows to elevate your upper body while you sleep.
- Sleep on your left side . Lying on your right side, you will position your stomach higher than your esophagus, which can lead to reflux.
- Sugar-free chewing gum after meals is a great remedy, as the increase in saliva can neutralize any acid that returns to the esophagus.
- Avoid drinking milk. Although it seems that cold milk alleviates reflux symptoms in pregnancy, the truth is that milk makes the condition worse because it increases stomach acidity. The production of gastric juice intensifies after the consumption of milk, as it takes a little more work on the stomach to digest its enzymes, and this ends up causing negative results in reflux.
Alternative medicine options include acupuncture and relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga . But it is important to always check with your doctor before trying new treatments.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.