6 Ways to Treat Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Acid Reflux (or heartburn) during pregnancy, while uncomfortable, is actually quite common. Though it’s not usually considered harmful, you might be hard-pressed to get an expectant mom to agree with that conclusion.
This burning sensation, which usually causes discomfort from about the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat (hence “heart” burn) is common in pregnancy due to the increase of the hormone progesterone, which helps to relax the uterine muscles. This relaxation of the esophageal muscles releases gastric acid out of the stomach, causing the burning sensation.
So, what can you safely do to relieve the discomfort of acid reflux during pregnancy? Continue reading for some remedies recommended by everyday moms!
Watch What You Eat
Spicy foods, or even foods that are acidic (tomatoes and citrus), can exacerbate an already uncomfortable situation. If you are experiencing acid reflux symptoms, you may want to avoid eating these things.
Sometimes, staying vertical is your best bet to help with acid reflux. When you lie down, acid can more freely move upward into your esophagus. So if you need to sleep, try propping your head up with some pillows, or try sleeping in a reclining chair.
Papaya Extract Tablets
Many women swear that these tablets are total lifesavers when it comes to reflux relief; but the reasons for why this works are debatable. Some point to the enzyme papain, while others say papain’s purpose is to break down protein and not neutralize acid. Either way, they seem to work for many women as a natural alternative to help relieve acid reflux pain.
Nothing’s better when you’re sick than chicken soup and flat ginger ale. Ever wonder why that was mom’s go-to? Ginger absorbs acid! It also has some anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits. It’s been used for hundreds of years to help with nausea (another wonderful side-effect of pregnancy!), vomiting, and diarrhea. You can purchase ginger tablets, or try ginger-snap cookies. There are even ginger-pops available in many stores!
Just as aloe can be used to soothe the pain from sunburn, aloe juice (which can be found at most health food stores) soothes the pain associated with acid reflux by coating the lining of the esophagus.
Many over-the-counter antacids, like Tums and Pepcid, are considered safe to take while pregnant. However, it’s always best to check with your OB/GYN about your particular situation, before taking any medication.
What have you found that works best for you? Is there anything that may not be “proven” to work, but you can swear by?