It’s pretty much a curse (I can’t even stand to go near the fridge or the sink when there are dirty dishes in them.) This starts very early with me, and if you are noticing smells a lot more, it could be because of pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to pee a lot, and the early hormonal changes that come with pregnancy can make that start happening earlier than they realize. Avoid food and beverages that trigger your heartburn.
Check with your GP if you’re concerned about your medication (Hunt et al 2017, NICE 2017) . If your heartburn is worse at night, try not to eat or drink anything in the three hours before you go to bed (Hunt et al 2017, NHS 2017) .
If you’re interested in complementary therapies, you could try acupuncture. There’s very little evidence that it helps to relieve heartburn and indigestion in pregnancy, but some mums say it works for them (Phupong and Hanprasertpong 2015) .
This will take the pressure off your stomach. Propping your head and shoulders up when you go to bed can stop stomach acid coming up while you sleep. What treatments are available for heartburn in pregnancy? There are a range of over-the-counter treatments for heartburn. Always check with your GP, midwife or pharmacist before buying one (Harding 2017) .
However, your GP may recommend taking them before symptoms come on – for example, before a meal or before bed. Smoking when pregnant can cause indigestion, and can seriously affect the health of you and your unborn baby. If you’re pregnant, it may be tempting to eat more than you would normally, but this may not be good for you or your baby.
For others, it becomes a problem later on when their bump is expanding and there seems to be no room for food. But what is clear, is that most women will get indigestion at some point in their pregnancy, and it can be very very uncomfortable and can make you feel nauseous and bloated. Other natural remedies for heartburn include slippery elm lozenges and taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with every meal.
See separate leaflet called Pregnancy and Smoking. Dyspepsia occurs at some point in around half of all pregnant women. It is usually due to reflux of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus. Many women who have heartburn during pregnancy have never had problems before. Unfortunately, if you had heartburn before becoming pregnant, you’re more likely to have symptoms while you are pregnant.
Antacids containing aluminium or magnesium can be taken on an ‘as required’ basis. Those containing calcium should only be used occasionally or for a short period. Antacids that contain sodium bicarbonate or magnesium trisilicate should be avoided as they may be harmful to your developing baby. The following are commonly advised.
The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks.
This probably is an effect of the high levels of estrogens and progesterones that are a normal part of pregnancy. This weakness resolves after delivery. Medications that may be safe for pregnant women to relieve heartburn include antacids, alginic acid/antacid combinations, and sucralfate.
While heartburn isn’t fun, it generally isn’t a serious problem. However, pain in the abdomen or shoulder, which is sometimes mistaken for heartburn, can be a sign of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication where the woman develops high blood pressure and signs of damage to the liver or kidneys, usually after 20 weeks. “If your heartburn is sudden, doesn’t go away, accompanies pain in the abdomen and up the back, and is really intense with severe pain, contact your health care provider or go to the hospital for emergency assessment,” says Martin. When you’re experiencing heartburn, a handful of raw almonds can help you feel better, as can ginger or ginger tea.
If lifestyle changes are not adequate, treatments with medications that are minimally absorbed into the body (and therefore not a potential threat to the fetus) could be started. Treatments include antacids (for example, Maalox, Mylanta), alginic acid/antacid combination (Gaviscon), and sucralfate (Carafate). The most reasonable first line of treatment is antacids alone, one hour after meals and at bedtime.
If you find that these activities lead to more symptoms, plan accordingly. The most frequently suggested changes include eating smaller meal portions which will decrease the amount of food in the stomach. By eating smaller, more frequent meals, you may be able to reduce reflux symptoms while still maintaining a healthy weight. Hormonal changes in pregnancy cause the valve between your esophagus and stomach to relax, allowing acid to escape up to your throat, explains Amanda Selk, an OB/GYN at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
There has been little research to prove how well these lifestyle changes help to ease acid leaking back up (reflux) and dyspepsia in pregnancy. However, they are certainly worth a try. Symptoms tend to occur in bouts which come and go, rather than being present all the time.