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Is Heartburn During Pregnancy Normal?

pregnant woman with heartburn

Heartburn is a common symptom experienced by many women. It is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest or throat and can be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. Fortunately, there are many strategies that pregnant women can use to manage heartburn and reduce its impact on their pregnancy.

Causes of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy is caused by hormonal and physical changes in the body. As the uterus expands, it puts pressure on the stomach, which can cause stomach acid to move into the esophagus. Additionally, the hormone progesterone relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, making it easier for acid to reflux into the esophagus.

Symptoms of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • A burning sensation in the chest or throat
  • Regurgitation of stomach acid or food
  • Bitter or sour taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat or hoarseness

Strategies for Managing Heartburn During Pregnancy

There are many strategies that pregnant women can use to manage heartburn during pregnancy, including:

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals: This can help reduce pressure on the stomach and prevent the onset of heartburn.
  • Avoiding trigger foods: Certain foods, such as spicy, fried, or acidic foods, can trigger heartburn. Pregnant women should avoid these foods and opt for milder options instead.
  • Drinking plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help dilute stomach acid and reduce the severity of heartburn.
  • Sleeping with the upper body elevated: This can help keep stomach acid in the stomach and reduce the risk of reflux during the night.
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing: Tight clothing can put pressure on the stomach and exacerbate heartburn symptoms.
  • Taking over-the-counter antacids: Antacids can help neutralize stomach acid and provide temporary relief from heartburn. However, pregnant women should speak with their physician before taking any medications during pregnancy.

When to Seek Medical Attention

In most cases, heartburn during pregnancy can be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter antacids. However, pregnant women should seek medical attention if they experience:

  • • Severe or persistent heartburn
  • • Difficulty swallowing
  • • Chest pain or tightness
  • • Shortness of breath
  • • Vomiting blood

These symptoms could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a peptic ulcer, and require medical evaluation and treatment.

Call Us Today

Our OB/GYNs are here to answer all of your pregnancy questions! Call us today at 770.720.7733 or request an appointment online.