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Pregnancy may be a beautiful experience, but that does not mean it is not accompanied by a few inconveniences. Prime among them? Acidity! Every meal becomes a bit of a rollercoaster ride with the taste staying with you and annoying you for hours on end after every meal. You probably are wondering what can help you cope with acid reflux while you’re pregnant. Well, there are plenty of natural ways to get rid of heartburn while pregnant. As is the case with any condition, there are plenty of home remedies for acid reflux during pregnancy to help alleviate your discomfort.
What Causes Acidity in Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, your body produces increased amounts of progesterone a hormone, which among other things, relaxes certain muscles in your body. This muscle relaxing effect also affects the valve which keeps the stomach contents from moving back to the oesophagus. As a result, the valve allows the acids in your stomach to sometimes move back towards your oesophagus, which irritates the lining of your oesophagus and gives rise to heartburn. Heartburn is likely to increase during your third trimester, since your enlarged uterus presses against your stomach. This places more stress on the valve that regulates its contents, resulting in the reflux that causes heartburn. The good news is that you can both treat it and reduce its occurrence by following some simple tips.
Unfortunately, everything with fat and spice, and deep-fried preparations are a big no-no when it comes to your pregnancy diet. Your cravings may be demanding you grab a handful of such delicious treats, but you will pay for it later! This ‘cure’ for heartburn while pregnant is not really a cure as much as it is a piece of advice – abstain from these sinfully delicious foods as they trigger a reaction in your stomach that increases acid production. Some even erode your sphincter allowing for easy backflow of acid to your throat. You can maybe indulge once in a while just to stem your cravings, but remember never to overeat when it comes to such foods!
As is with fried, fatty, and spicy foods, these elements encourage the production of acid in your belly and cause heartburn. And while giving up chocolate may seem like blasphemy, you and your baby will likely be a lot happier once you do. Similarly, caffeine (in excess amounts) and carbonated drinks have been proven to be bad for pregnant women, so it would do you good to stay clear of them!
Your body is built to keep things flowing downwards, and you can use gravity to your advantage. Prop yourself up against pillows when sleeping so your head is raised above your stomach and feet. This will force the acid downwards and away from your throat, and into your intestines. This is one of the many timeless home remedies for acid reflux during pregnancy.
Another cure for heartburn while pregnant is to eat smaller meals, more frequently. All you need to do is eat often –So instead of three large meals, have plenty of small meals composed of easy-to-digest ingredients. This has the added advantage of preventing morning sickness as well.
A key element you should keep in mind involves eating dinner early, so your stomach is not too full when you lie down for the night. This will prevent the acid from moving back up and prevent the risk of heartburn or acid reflux. Try and avoid eating dinner no later than 3 hours before bed.
Once you have eaten, try not to lie down within 60 minutes of your meal. Give your food a chance to digest so that it doesn’t feel the need to pay you back with heartburn. Once you do go to bed, lie down on your left side. This way, the acid moves into the intestines while more nutrients go to the baby and the placenta.
For all you expecting fashionistas, fret not. This is not a call to go the dumpy, shapeless route in terms of maternity wear. Just skip the fitted clothes that compress your belly in any way. Not only will it make you uncomfortable to wear such clothes at this point in your life but it also will force that pesky acid back up to your throat by pressing down on your uterus, which shoves against your stomach in turn.
It may seem insignificant but turns out, pregnancy is a time when the right posture can really help you out. Sit up straight. It will ensure everything runs in the right direction i.e., away from your throat. It will also lessen any other discomfort such as back pain and will ensure you are relaxed and a happy mommy-to-be.
Having a baby using your bladder as a trampoline may not encourage you to drink a lot of water but trust us, water will drown out the pesky reflux that’s lit a fire in your belly. It will effectively stop it from making its way upwards and ensure that your insides are soothed. Drink water but not all at once. Ensure that you sip on fluids throughout the day.
Chewing gum may seem unappealing and counter-intuitive. But it enhances salivary production which helps put a stop to that nasty acid reflux. The bicarbonate in your saliva effectively kills this excess acid production as intended by nature and drives away your discomfort.
Mother Nature has her own little tricks to help another mother out, and yoghurt is prime among them. This does not mean you finish off an entire tub of the stuff. Have a spoonful of yoghurt before or after every meal or even when your reflux is flaring up. Things will cool down.
This little helper has proven itself to be one of the best natural ways to get rid of heartburn while pregnant. The digestive enzymes in this fruit can soothe your insides. Eat it any form – diced, dried, juice or tablets, and experience some relief as it will aid digestion and discourage heartburn. However, pay heed to this word of caution. You must be well aware that eating papaya during pregnancy in excess amounts is discouraged, and for good reason. While papaya in small amounts can provide you the relief you need, it’s safer to depend on fruits like bananas, watermelons, or muskmelons too.
Another effective home remedy for acid reflux during pregnancy is mixing water and baking soda and drinking a glassful when you are in agony. It neutralises the acidic environment in your belly, hence providing you relief.
A couple of natural ways to get rid of heartburn while pregnant include eating fresh ginger raw. Another remedy you can count on is apple cider vinegar. Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with approximately 250 millilitres of water; sip on the same throughout the day and an hour before meals. These helpful ingredients will help drive away your discomfort quickly. The same goes for lemons! Squeeze 1-2 fresh lemons into a minimum of 250 millilitres of water. Add stevia or honey. Heat for tea or leave the water cold for lemonade/juice.
When all else fails, go to a professional. Certain movements within the chiropractic realm shift the oesophageal valve into a more optimal working position. Being pregnant can be a wonderful experience but it also comes with its difficulties. Embrace the changes your body is going through and take the required measures to stay safe and comfortable. We do hope that these nifty ways help you get rid of acid reflux during pregnancy!