Symptoms of indigestion and heartburn can include:
- feeling or being sick
- belching or burping
- feeling full, bloated, or heavy
- a burning sensation or pain felt in the chest
Symptoms for heartburn can usually come on soon after eating or drinking. You may experience symptoms at any point during your pregnancy, but they are more common after the 27th week of pregnancy. If you’re fed up with experiencing heartburn or stomach burn during pregnancy, you can take the required steps to reduce it with the help of some expert advice.
How to reduce heartburn?
With the right guidelines, heartburn can be reduced or prevented to a great extent.
Some kinds of foods and ingredients can intensify heartburn, such as citrus foods, spicy foods, vinegar, and tomato sauces. Fried and fatty foods linger longer in the stomach. This can increase stomach pressure, forcing open the muscles which keep stomach acid out of the oesophagus. There are other common heartburn triggers, such as caffeine, chocolate, peppermint, onions, carbonated drinks, and alcohol. Avoid such kinds of foods.
You can enjoy fish, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. If spices lead to symptoms, consume them in small amounts. Opt for fresh herbs which are less concentrated and less irritating for your condition.
Try roasting your food as it makes vegetables sweeter, allowing the natural sugars to come out and caramelize. Even sautéing, broiling, or grilling food will help you bring out some of the intense and subtle flavours.
Opt for fat-free sauces while ordering your meals.
Eat vegetables raw. For example, Tomato sauce can cause problems, but you may find a fresh tomato quite easy to eat.
Foods like oatmeal, bananas, raisins, are also good for you. Eat healthy salads with protein like beans or chicken.
Small lifestyle changes can make a significant difference to how you experience your symptoms:
- Drink fluids in between meals instead of with your meals
- Avoid consuming caffeine
- Do not eat large meals and spicy, fried, or acidic foods
- Eat small meals and be regular with them
- Keep at least 2 hours after eating before you sleep
Smoking while you’re pregnant can lead to indigestion and affect yours and your unborn baby’s health. While smoking, the chemicals you inhale can contribute to indigestion. The chemicals can cause the ring of muscle at the lower end of the gullet to relax, allowing stomach acid to come back up more easily.
Smoking also increases the risk of:
- Premature birth (before week 37 of your pregnancy)
- a low birthweight of the baby
- cot death/sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Consuming alcohol can cause indigestion. During pregnancy, alcohol consumption can also cause long-term harm to the baby.
The above tips can be helpful in preventing stomach burn during pregnancy. If you still experience mild cases of heartburn, you can try out some Indian home remedies for acidity during pregnancy. You can also opt for The World’s No. 1 Heartburn specialist, Gaviscon, that provides quick relief from acidity and heartburn and lasts upto 2X longer vs ordinary antacids*. Gaviscon is also suitable to use in pregnancy+ and while breastfeeding too.
When should I seek medical aid?
Some serious conditions can mimic less urgent issues, such as heartburn. When you’re pregnant, consult a doctor regularly and inform him/her of any symptom, no matter how small it may seem.
Notify your doctor immediately if:
- heartburn is felt for several days after delivery
- heartburn medication produces side effects
- prescription treatment causes heartburn to worsen
- heartburn progresses to a point that it disrupts or prevents sleep
- home remedies and over-the-counter medications for heartburn during pregnancy do not work
- other symptoms, such as a change in the baby’s movements, unexplained pain, or high blood pressure are experienced
Heartburn itself is not a condition that calls for emergency treatment. However, its pain could resemble that of a severe pregnancy complication. Also, there are underlying causes of heartburn that may require additional care. It is best for each pregnant woman to discuss with their doctor about when they should try out home remedies for heartburn in pregnancy or seek emergency medical attention.
*Comparing Gaviscon with select ordinary antacid
I. Chevrel B. A comparative crossover study on the treatment of heartburn and epigastric pain: Liquid Gaviscon and a magnesium--aluminium antacid gel. J Int Med Res. 1980;8(4):300-2.
II. Mandel KG etal. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Jun;14(6):669-90
+It is not a medical advice. Please consult your doctor if clinically needed”.
III. 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
IV. Meteerattanapipat P, Phupong V. Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 20;7:44830
Article published 20 July 2021