How to ease heartburn in pregnancy
Question: I have really bad heartburn. I thought it would get better as I moved into the third trimester but it seems to be getting worse. Are there any natural remedies for pregnancy heartburn?
You are not alone. Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to heartburn, a form of indigestion. Unfortunately the problem of heartburn in pregnancy is made worse in the later stages by the expansion of the uterus causing, at times, uncomfortable pressure.
- Fresh or dried papaya contains papain which is a digestive enzyme that aids digestion and soothes the stomach.
- A handful of almonds when you feel heartburn coming on may relieve the symptoms.
- Warm milk with a tablespoon of honey.
- Ginger can be taken in capsules, as candied ginger or as a tea.
- Apples contain acid neutralising substances. Eat one after a meal to relieve heartburn and one during the day to prevent it.
- Stand tall, with arms raised above the head to increase chest space for immediate relief.
- Drink milk or peppermint tea.
- Chewing gum can stimulate saliva, which helps neutralise stomach acid.
- Avoid eating before you go to bed.
- A couple of pillows can prop you up during sleep to help prevent reflux.
- Eat frequently; say, four to five little meals, rather than fewer large meals.
- Sitting in an upright chair, leaning forward slightly, rather than lounging back on a sofa can help those experiencing heartburn during the day.
- Try bending your knees and crouching rather than suddenly leaning over when picking things up.
- Make the most of your liquids between meals. Avoid eating and drinking at the same time.
- Try to work out which foods might be triggering your symptoms and avoid them.
- Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
- Alcohol can trigger heartburn and should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea can increase stomach acidity, so opt for herbal tea instead.
- Citrus and tomatoes are high in acid that can exacerbate heartburn. Eat them with other foods such as bread.
- Chocolate can bring on heartburn. Limit the amount of chocolate that you eat and avoid eating it on an empty stomach.
- Try baking instead of frying. Fatty, spicy or greasy foods can bring on heartburn.
If you find yourself unable to eat, are losing weight or are unsure if the pain you are experiencing is heartburn, speak to your midwife or doctor.