Heartburn is common during pregnancy. The hormones of pregnancy act on the muscle (LES - lower esophageal sphincter) causing it to relax. Normally, the LES is tight and holds the stomach acids back. When the muscle is relaxed, the stomach acid spills backwards into the esophagus causing a burning sensation in your stomach and chest and a sour/acidic taste in your mouth. In addition, the growing baby pushes up on your stomach forcing stomach contents up your esophagus. Generally, heartburn progressively worsens throughout the third trimester.

Although we can not completely cure heartburn during pregnancy, there are many things you can do to control your symptoms.

Medications safe to take during pregnancy:

  • Tums
  • Rolaids
  • Mylanta
  • Zantac
  • Pepcid

Avoid foods that trigger heartburn:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine, carbonated beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Peppermint and spearmint
  • Spicy or fatty foods, full-fat dairy products
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauces

Other steps to avoid heartburn include:        

  • Avoid bending over or exercising just after eating
  • Avoid eating within 2-3 hours of bedtime. Lying down with a full stomach results in stomach contents pressing harder against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)
  • Eat smaller meals. A full stomach puts extra pressure on the LES, increasing the chance that food will reflux  Don't rush through your meals. Take your time eating, and chew thoroughly
  • Sleep with your head and shoulders propped up with a wedge pillow or elevate the head of your bed six to eight inches
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing. You need to avoid any tightness around your waist and stomach
  • Bend at the knees instead of at the waist. Bending at the waist puts more pressure on your stomach
  • Watch your weight gain.  Gaining too much weight will put extra pressure on your stomach
  • If you  smoke, try to quit