Acid Reflux and Pregnancy Acid Reflux
Most pregnant women have symptoms of GERD (acid reflux), especially heartburn, during pregnancy. Acid reflux symptoms can begin at any time during a pregnancy. Very often, these symptoms grow worse as the pregnancy progresses.
Why Does Heartburn Occur During Pregnancy? | Pregnancy Acid Reflux
Heartburn is very common during pregnancy. Heartburn occurs when hormones cause the digestive system to slow down. Hormones also cause the muscles that push food down the esophagus to slow down during pregnancy. In addition, as the uterus grows, it pushes on the stomach and sometimes forces stomach acid up into the esophagus.
Heartburn is common during pregnancy but it rarely causes complications. In rare instances, inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis) or harm to the fetus can occur. Usually, GERD symptoms such as heartburn improve or disappear once the baby is born.
Common Heartburn Treatments for Pregnant Women | Pregnancy Acid Reflux
Heartburn treatments for pregnant women are similar to treatment for non-pregnant women who have GERD. Making lifestyle changes and avoiding certain nonprescription medications can provide significant relief.
Try these useful tips:
- Avoid lying down right after eating
- Avoid eating foods that may make your heartburn worse
- Elevate the head of your bed
- Use nonprescription antacids for relief of heartburn symptoms. Pregnant women should avoid antacids that contain sodium bicarbonate because they can lead to fluid retention. Antacids that contain calcium carbonate (such as Tums) are acceptable for pregnant women.
Some health professionals recommend a prescription drug such as sucralfate for treating acid reflux symptoms during pregnancy. Although some prescription drugs are safe for use during pregnancy, others are generally not recommended.
DO NOT use prescription or nonprescription drugs without discussing them first with your licensed healthcare professional.
Pregnancy Acid Reflux