Pregnant & Feeling the Burn? Helpful Tips for Heartburn.
Every pregnant woman has her share of discomforts but I would argue that none are quite as annoying or uncomfortable as heartburn. I say this because many other things that plague pregnant women (morning sickness, back pain, swollen feet, sleepless nights) usually don’t last the entire pregnancy. Heartburn, on the other hand, can often start at the beginning and last right on through until your little one is born. There are a host of factors that contribute to heartburn in pregnancy. Hormones and the pressure your growing baby puts on your stomach are the biggest causes. Clearly, there is not much pregnant mommas can do to avoid these things. If you are blessed enough to be heartburn-free during your pregnancy, thank your lucky stars. You have no idea how much fun you are missing. If you are experiencing heartburn, be sure to speak to your doctor about taking some over the counter antacid medications. Most doctors readily give you the green light on things like Rolaids, Tums and even Zantac – but check in just the same before taking these. Here are some additional tips to help manage your heartburn:
- Slow it down: Eat slowly and chew foods well. When you eat quickly you end up gulping more air which only increases heartburn and gas.
- Size matters: Have smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Five or six mini-meals will be easier on your system than the traditional three. Avoid sitting down to large meals which can stay longer in your stomach (and make heartburn worse).
- Avoid the main offenders: Spicy, fatty and/or greasy foods, chocolate, peppermint, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits/juices (orange, lemon, grapefruit) and tomato-based sauces/juices.
- Keep liquids and foods separate: Drink liquids separately from your meals to avoid overfilling your belly. Small sips with meals are fine but avoid downing large amounts when eating.
- Loosey Goosey: Choose clothes that aren’t too tight on your belly. Extra pressure in this area does nothing to help lessen heartburn.
- Keep it up(right): Don’t lie down too soon after eating. Remain in an upright position (sitting or propped up with pillows) for at least two hours after eating. Sleeping with your head elevated may also help you avoid heartburn.
Leslie Judge MS, RD, CSO, LDN