Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

Though the exact reasons are unclear, more-and-more women deal with Acid Reflux during pregnancy, to the point that it is nearly inevitable. Medication restrictions severely limit the possibilities for relief, but just a bit of education about the ailment and natural remedies can make a huge difference.

Pregnancy’s toll on the body | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

Estimates predict that as many as 80% of pregnant women experience Acid Reflux symptoms varying from mild indigestion to extreme Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). According to Babycenter.com, initial Reflux symptoms arise from frequent vomiting in the first trimester triggered by rising levels of estrogen and progesterone circulating in the blood.

Acid Reflux tends to worse in the third trimester, often leading to GERD, when the enlarged uterus has pushed into and distorted the abdomen. The stomach puts pressure on its opening, affecting the functionality of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).

Additionally, pregnancy hormones relax muscles to let the uterus stretch, consequently the LES valve that ordinarily acts as gatekeeper between the stomach and the esophagus also relaxes allowing acid up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.

Limit Medication for a Healthy Pregnancy | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

Studies published on Healthcentral.com from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology examined 30,000 children found that mothers who took reflux medications with H2 blockers (Zantac, Axid, Pepcid, Tagament) or Proton Pump Inhibitors (Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, Aciphex) were significantly more likely (51%) to have a child with asthma symptoms.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC.gov) states that all medications are tested for safety and effectiveness, however, pregnant women are generally not included due to the potential risks for unborn babies. As a result, we have little information about the safety of medications during pregnancy. It is important to know that dietary and herbal products may also be harmful, always consult your physician before making treatment decisions.

Babycenter.com suggests that antacids containing magnesium hydroxide or oxide are good relievers, available in tablet or liquid form, and work by neutralizing stomach acid. Chewable and liquid antacids are already dissolved, and therefore act quicker than tablets; experiment to see which form works best for you.

Most doctors approve using Rolaids, Tums and Maalox, however, discourage anything containing magnesium or aspirin (also listed as salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid) as it can cause premature labor. According to the FDA, pregnant women should never take oral suspension medications like Pepto Bismol.

Aluminum (also aluminum hydroxide or aluminum carbonate) must be avoided as it can be constipating and, in large doses, is toxic.

Relief is Possible Naturally | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

Although this information points toward a bleak nine months, don’t lose hope. There are many alternative remedies (such as the antacids previously suggested) to ease your discomfort and make pregnancy a special time … as it should be.

Restful sleep is an extremely important factor for the health of you and your baby. Unfortunately the affects of Acid Reflux tend to rage at night when your body is flat and the acid no longer fights gravity to creep up the esophagus. By elevating your upper body, stomach acid stays where it belongs.

Though you may not eliminate heartburn completely, Babycenter.com and the FDA recommend the following tips to minimize discomfort; remember to always consult your doctor first.

Avoid acidic food and beverages | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy  | GERD | Heartburn

Carbonated drinks; alcohol (for many reasons); caffeine; chocolate; citrus fruits, juices, tomatoes, mustard, and vinegar; processed meats; spicy, fried, or fatty foods all cause problems.

Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea

It stimulates saliva production, your body’s antacid. Ginger is a carminative to relieve gas as well. Licorice has the same benefits.

Don’t eat big meals

Instead, eat several small meals throughout the day. Take your time when eating, chew thoroughly, and remain upright to let gravity assist digestion.

Avoid drinking large quantities during meals | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

You don’t want to further distend your stomach. It’s critical to drink eight to ten glasses of water daily during pregnancy, but sip during meals.

Don’t eat before bedtime | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

Give yourself at least two hours of digestion before lying down.

Monitor weight gain | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

Stay within the recommendations of your physician. Remember that pregnancy is not a free pass to consume empty calories.

Take care when exercising | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

Avoid bouncing and bending forward, always bend at the knees. Stretching exercises and brisk walking are unlikely to aggravate GERD.

Don’t smoke! | Acid Reflux with Pregnancy | GERD | Heartburn

In addition to a host of serious health problems, smoking boosts stomach acidity.

Acid Reflux with Pregnancy  | GERD | Heartburn

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