Heartburn in pregnancy is due, in part, to the hormonal revolution that is taking place. One of the functions of progesterone during pregnancy is to relax the muscles, so it also relaxes the stomach muscles. On the other hand, especially towards the end of pregnancy, the volume of the uterus-fetus puts pressure on the rest of the organs, leaving little space.
Heartburn symptoms, in particular that burning sensation is due to the stomach juices rising from the pit of the stomach into the esophagus. In parallel, other symptoms include gas, nausea, vomiting and a feeling of being fuller than humanly bearable, which makes digestion extremely heavy and uncomfortable. Also, during pregnancy, and due to the displacement of the organs, heartburn and heaviness can feel like discomfort or pain in the chest.
When the symptoms are severe, the use of antacids may be necessary, something that the doctor will prescribe. However, when symptoms are mild, a change in diet or eating habits, and even lifestyle, may be enough to keep heartburn under control.
- Cereals such as oats, rice or wheat (pasta or couscous), vegetables such as lettuce, green beans, broccoli or cauliflower, chicken and turkey meats or white fish, as well as fruits such as melon, watermelon or banana can help relieve symptoms of the acidity.
- Accompany meals with water, dispensing with other drinks.
- Milk can help control acidity, neutralizing gastric acids. However, according to the latest studies, a rebound effect may occur, as it also stimulates acid production.
- Yogurt can be taken between hours o Milk and fruit shakes, liquid and protein-rich foods are usually easier to tolerate.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol. Pregnancy is reason enough to avoid them, as they can cause harm to the fetus, but also worsen heartburn and heaviness of the stomach.
- Limit caffeine (coffee, tea and cola drinks), as it also makes symptoms worse.
- Eat slow, regularly and in small portions. Stay in an upright position after meals, to prevent gravity from helping gastric juices rise up into the esophagus.
- Try not to eat before going to bed, better when the food has already begun to digest, at least 2-3 hours.
- Avoid triggers like chocolate, juices, carbonated drinks, typically acidic foods, such as citrus fruits or tomatoes, and foods rich in fat.
- Avoid excessively spicy foods, especially spicy, although spices like ginger seem to help improve symptoms.
Each woman is different, so it is advisable to make a list or keep a diary, noting the foods that make symptoms worse and / or improve, because heartburn is something that can recur in future pregnancies.
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