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While heartburn in normal individuals occurs due to unhealthy lifestyle, tight clothing, or consumption of fatty and acidic foods, most women suffer this uneasiness for the first time during pregnancy. Those who have already had this condition prior-pregnancy feel that heartburns get aggravated or become frequent during pregnancy. Expectant mothers can be treated to prevent onset of heartburns by using natural remedies.
During pregnancy, levels of the hormone called progesterone become high. The lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, which is a flap intended to prevent backflow of contents from the abdomen to the esophagus, becomes very relaxed. This causes acids from the stomach to flow back to the esophagus causing heartburn. High progesterone level also causes slow digestion. The contraction of the esophagus and intestine gets slowed down causing the digestion of foods also to slow down. Presence of food for long out of the stomach kicks up heartburn. The outcome of improper digestive system will be pushing the food back to the esophagus.
The baby’s weight gets applied on many organs in the pregnant woman causing the stomach to become smaller. Excess weight caused by changes in the woman’s body can cause the stomach to push back the contents back to the esophagus causing heartburn. This is pronounced when the woman lies down or bends over after a meal.
Some remedies to keep this condition at bay include:
Diet Change: Avoid eating acidic, fatty or spicy foods since they work together with the pregnancy hormones in relaxing the digestive tract. This causes the acids to get pushed to the esophagus easily. Foods like milk, yogurt or one tablespoon honey mixed in a glass of warm milk are effective home remedies.
Eating Slowly: Less space for the stomach along with relaxed sphincter causes pushing of acid to the esophagus. Eating slowly and consuming liquids through the day and not limiting it to meal time reduce heartburn. Eating small meals many times a day is better than consuming 3 large size meals for reducing occurrence of heartburn.
Physical change: Pregnancy makes the body work for two. One should alter the way they move or lie down to avoid kicking up of acid. One should lie down only after an hour of finishing meals. Placing extra pillows or keeping the shoulders and head raised reduces the chances of heartburn. Wearing loose clothing avoids undue pressure on the stomach.
Antacid: One can consume antacids like Zantac or Tagamet only on doctor’s recommendation. Avoid medicines that have sodium bicarbonate, as they may exacerbate the heartburn.
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