If you sit and talk to any group of pregnant women anywhere in the world about the various discomforts they must endure during pregnancy they will all likely agree on one that is worst than most. What is it? Acid reflux. Many years ago there was an old wives tale that women who suffered from heartburn would give birth to a child with a full head of hair. This, of course, is purely mythical. That aside acid reflux is still a hugely annoying thing to have to endure while you are pregnant.
Reasons For Acid Reflux In Pregnant Women There are several reasons why pregnant women are more likely to experience heartburn:
1. Hormone levels in a pregnant woman are far higher than a woman who is not pregnant. This dramatic increase in hormone levels can have a huge effect on every aspect of your body and especially your digestive system. The most common effect is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) can loosen up a bit. This is a type of valve which typically holds the food in your stomach. If this valve is loose then acid can flow back upwards into your gullet (esophagus). You will then experience heartburn to a varying degree.
2. During pregnancy your body will change shape. This normally does not happen until later in pregnancy. When these changes do happen your stomach area will keep expanding and this expansion is what can lead to acid reflux. Your stomach enlarging in this way puts far more pressure on the esophagus which can then lead to indigestion and acid reflux in general.
Is There Anything You Can Do?
There is always something you can do to help yourself! Firstly watch what you eat. Citrus foods, mint, spicy foods, fried foods, and chocolate should all be avoided as much as possible.
Eat smaller meals too.
This will help a lot if you experience a lot of morning (and daytime, evening and nighttime) sickness too. If you eat several small meals throughout the day you are far less likely to experience heartburn. Your body will be able to process those small meals far easier than 2 or 3 large ones.
Correct Your Posture
Believe it or not practicing correct posture can help an awful lot with acid reflux. Be especially careful of how you bend. While pregnant you should always bend down at the knees - although later you will have no choice but to do so as your stomach expands. However earlier on in your pregnancy bending down at the knees will put far less pressure on your stomach and therefore your esophagus. This can and will help you with the discomforts of indigestion.
You can fight back against acid reflux during your pregnancy. You simply have to choose to. Do not suffer in silence however and do not ever be afraid to consult with your doctor for medication if the heartburn becomes too painful to bear.
Helping others drives Jill Seimer with a passion but writing on healthy living at RefluxLife.com she recently published personal experiences on Acid Reflux in Children and dealing with infant acid reflux.