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What are the symptoms of 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:

  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Belching or bloating
  • Cough, sore throat or a bitter taste in the mouth

Why does acidity happen during pregnancy?

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:

  • Increased pressure on the stomach: In the later stages of pregnancy, the growing uterus, along with the foetus can increase the pressure on the stomach. This pressure can cause acid to leak out of the stomach and up into the oesophagus. The leakage usually happens after a meal when the stomach is full.
  • Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, increased amounts of the hormone progesterone get produced in the woman’s body. This hormone plays a role in relaxing smooth muscle tissue throughout the body. It also plays an important role in relaxing the uterus for it to stretch and grow as the foetus develops.

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.

How can acidity during pregnancy be treated?

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.

When to see a doctor for acid reflux during pregnancy?

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:

  • Vision problems
  • Severe headache
  • Swelling in the hands, feet, and face
  • High blood pressure

How to prevent acidity during pregnancy?

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 17 July 2021