Don't Take it Lying Down
Unlike baby showers or finding out the gender of your baby, heartburn is a less joyful pregnancy experience. Your changing hormones can cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus to relax, increasing your chances of suffering the discomfort of heartburn and risking damage to your esophagus. And as your pregnancy progresses, your growing baby can put pressure on your stomach, moving stomach acids up into the esophagus.
The good new is that, if you didn't have a problem with heartburn prior to your pregnancy, the symptoms are likely to disappear after childbirth. In the meantime, keep in mind that there are plenty of things to try that can help prevent and manage the discomfort.
Prevent Heartburn from Occurring in the First Place
The best method for dealing with heartburn is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. There are many ways to do this. Try eating five or six small meals instead of three large ones. Avoid foods known to trigger heartburn, such as coffee, chocolate and spicy or fried foods. Do not lie down after eating. Remain upright for at least one hour. It may also help to raise the head of your bed so your chest is elevated while you sleep. Sleeping on your left side can also prevent heartburn, since your stomach is on the left side of your body.
Treat Heartburn Naturally
If you do need to treat a case of heartburn, keep in mind that there are natural remedies that may lessen the symptoms. Eating a ripe banana can soothe heartburn by coating your esophagus with a protective barrier. You can also chew a piece of gum, which produces additional bicarbonate in your saliva and neutralizes acids. A glass of almond milk may also lessen the discomfort. The alkalinity in the milk will also neutralize acids. There are mixed opinions on using cow's milk or yogurt to treat heartburn. While it may be soothing initially, some research points to it actually exacerbating the problem and causing additional symptoms.
Treat Heartburn with Medication
Some over-the-counter medications, such as Tums (calcium carbonate) and Maalox (magnesium hydroxide), can be taken safely during pregnancy, but it's best to check with your doctor first. Infrequent use of antacids with magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate should be safe, but there is no research on the safety of taking these medications on a regular basis.
If you find yourself popping antacids daily, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. She will help you find options to prevent damage to your esophagus. Along with experiencing frequent symptoms, you should contact your doctor if you find that your heartburn is keeping you awake at night or causing wheezing, hoarseness or vomiting.