Acid reflux or acidity happens when stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and reaches up into the oesophagus. The primary symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which is an uncomfortable, burning sensation in the chest. Pregnant women are more prone to heartburn and acid reflux.
The most common symptom of acid reflux is a burning sensation in the throat or upper chest. One can also feel nauseous or experience symptoms like burping and regurgitation.
Other symptoms of acid reflux could be any of the following:
Severe acid reflux can affect about 80% of pregnancies. Heartburn can happen at any stage of the pregnancy but is more commonly seen during the second and third trimesters. It is not fully understood why acid reflux begins or worsens later in pregnancy. Here are some factors which are believed to play a role:
But progesterone can also relax the sphincter muscle, which connects the oesophagus to the stomach. The sphincter lets food enter the stomach and prevents the food and stomach acid from leaking up into the oesophagus. When the sphincter loosens up, the acid travels back up the oesophagus.
Gaviscon syrup is suitable for use in pregnancy+ as it provides quick relief from acidity and heartburn and is the World’s No. 1 Heartburn Specialist^.
Remember to consult your doctor before you consume any OTC medicines. This will help ensure that they do not interact with any other medicine you might be taking. Some home remedies can also be tried out to get relief from heartburn during pregnancy.
You can also try holding or supporting up your upper body when you sleep. An elevated upper body can help decrease the amount of acid backing up into your throat and provide relief for pregnancy heartburn.
Pregnant women should see their doctor on experiencing persistent or severe heartburn that does not respond to over-the-counter medicines or any kind of at-home treatments. Any type of heartburn-like sensation below the ribs can sometimes be a sign of preeclampsia. Without regular monitoring or the required treatments, preeclampsia can threaten the life of the woman and foetus.
Other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia can include:
To prevent acid reflux, consume small, frequent meals. Avoid spicy, greasy foods, especially close to bedtime.
Also, avoid milk, even if drinking it might seem like a good idea. Consuming milk can increase stomach acid, which will make things worse.
Before trying out any home remedies for heartburn in pregnancy, do consult your doctor.
+It is not a medical advice. Please consult your doctor if clinically needed.
Strugala V etal. Assessment of the Safety and Efficacy of a Raft-Forming Alginate Reflux Suppressant (Liquid Gaviscon) for the Treatment of Heartburn during Pregnancy. ISRN Obstet Gynecol. 2012;2012:481870
Meteerattanapipat P, Phupong V. Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 20;7:44830
^Claim based on information aggregated and reported in part from data supplied by Nielsen through its Retail Measurement Services for the defined category (RB defined) for the 12 month period ending June 2020, for the defined RB geographic focus.
Article published February 15th, 2021