Why treat heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy?
Fortunately, the burn should clear up as soon as you give birth. Heartburn occurs when the ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach relaxes (like all the muscles in the GI tract), allowing food and harsh digestive juices to back up from the stomach to the esophagus. These stomach acids irritate the sensitive esophageal lining, causing a burning sensation right around where the heart is located; thus the term heartburn, though the problem has nothing to do with your heart. Tons of women feel the burn during pregnancy – heartburn, that is.
This effect prevents heartburn symptoms. The first-line drug treatment for heartburn in pregnancy is an OTC antacid or prescription sucralfate.
Acid reflux is â€œvery, very commonâ€ during pregnancy, says Michelle Collins, CNM, an assistant professor of nurse-midwifery at Vanderbilt University. More than half of all pregnant women will experience acid reflux. Itâ€™s when stomach acid doesnâ€™t stay put in your stomach and creeps up into your esophagus. Acid reflux is more common in pregnancy because progesterone, the main hormone of pregnancy, slows your digestive system. That, combined with the pressure of a growing baby, increases the possibility that stomach acid will make its way upward.
Other studies have shown that in pregnant women, high levels of estrogen and other hormones can relax the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, causing heartburn. The same hormones, other studies show, can influence fetal hair growth.
- It is okay to use antacids that have calcium carbonate (such as Tums).
- One adverse effect it can have, however, is to make you constipated, which can exacerbate the reflux.
- For some, fizzy or caffeinated drinks may be the cause.
- Too much fluid mixed with too much food will distend the stomach, aggravating heartburn.
- Burping and regurgitation can also be signs of acid reflux.
How to stop heartburn and indigestion
Heartburn in pregnancy may occur because of changing hormone levels, which can affect the muscles of the digestive tract and how different foods are tolerated. Pregnancy hormones can cause the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscular valve between the stomach and esophagus) to relax, allowing stomach acids to flow back up into the esophagus. In addition, the enlarged uterus can crowd the abdomen, pushing stomach acids upward. Although it’s rare, gallstones can also cause heartburn during pregnancy. During pregnancy, do not use antacids that have sodium bicarbonate (such as baking soda), because they can cause fluid buildup.
If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating that food to see if your symptoms get better. Zantac is an acid reducer. Itâ€™s used to relieve heartburn from indigestion and sour stomach, which may be due to eating or drinking certain foods and beverages.
Doctors can help you control your symptoms while keeping your unborn child safe. Your doctor may prescribe certain acid-reducing medications to reduce your symptoms. The first question you may have is how to make it stop.
Taken on an empty stomach, calcium carbonate antacids neutralise acid for between 30 and 60 minutes. If taken with food or shortly after a meal, this protective effect may provide relief for up to 2 or 3 hours. Many antacids are available over-the-counter without a prescription and may be suggested for milder cases. It is advisable to chat to your pharmacist for advice about which ones are most suitable for you before purchasing. If your pain is more severe, it is best to consult your physician for stronger treatment that is also safe in pregnancy.