Heartburn and Pregnancy
Natural Remedies for Heartburn during Pregnancy
Heartburn and pregnancy go hand-in-hand! The good news is, natural remedies for heartburn are effective in alleviating this discomfort
Heartburn, also called acid reflux, is an irritation or burning sensation of the esophagus caused by stomach contents that comes back up (reflux) from the stomach.
Over 50% of pregnant women suffer from various degrees of heartburn. This condition is particularly common during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
This page takes a look at the following topics:
Heartburn and Pregnancy - The Causes
The main causes of heartburn in pregnancy are as follows:
- A change in hormone levels - an increase in hormonal levels during pregnancy can affect the muscles of the digestive tract and how different foods
are tolerated. The increased hormonal levels soften the ligaments that normally keep the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) tightly closed, causing it to relax. If the LES
relaxes at inappropriate times, food and stomach acids can reflux back up into your esophagus and throat.
- Fetal position - The enlarged uterus and the position of the baby can push stomach acids up into the esophagus, leaving you with a burning pain in
Heartburn and Pregnancy - Herbal Remedies for Heartburn
Demulcent herbs (herbs that soothe irritated membranes), such as licorice, slippery elm, and marshmallow root, are effective in soothing and healing the stomach and the
esophagus. These three herbs are safe and nutritive as well. You can get a tincture or the capsules of any one of these herbs at most natural health food stores.
Another herb that is soothing to the digestive tract is chamomile. Drink chamomile tea every day if you tend to develop heartburn during pregnancy.
Heartburn and Pregnancy - Homeopathic Remedies for Heartburn
Quite a few homeopathic remedies are effective in giving quick relief from heartburn. For this to work, however, you need to choose a remedy that most closely matches your
symptoms. Consult with a holistic practitioner if necessary.
Here are the common homeopathic remedies for heartburn:
- Nux Vomica - This remedy is good for heartburn that arises from spicy foods, alcohol, and stress. People needing this remedy are irritable, and
overly sensitive to outside stimuli such as noise and light. They may also suffer from constipation.
- Arsenicum Album - This remedy is for a burning pain in the stomach or the esophagus. Milk or warm water can alleviate the pain a bit. People needing this remedy are
restless and anxious.
- Pulsatilla - This remedy is effective for heartburn that occurs from rich and fatty foods. Symptoms are usually worse in a warm room and better with
fresh air. People needing this remedy tend to be tearful when ill, and need a lot of comfort.
- Natrum Carbonicum - This remedy is good for people having trouble digesting most foods, especially milk.
- Sulphur - This remedy is for burning pain and belching, usually accompanied by diarrhea. People needing this remedy tend to be very warm and get
relief from drinking cold beverages.
Heartburn and Pregnancy - Natural Supplements for Heartburn
Probiotics can help digestion by supplementing the body with "friendly bacteria". Take a probiotic supplement that contains at least 4 billion active organism daily.
Another supplement that greatly helps digestion is a supplement of digestive enzymes. These enzymes help your body to digest food effectively, thus reducing the likelihood
of heartburn and irritation caused by indigestion.
Heartburn and Pregnancy - Prevention
There are several ways to prevent heartburn during pregnancy:
- Perhaps most importantly is to watch your diet. Avoid foods that are hard to digest, such as greasy foods, spicy foods, and heavy sauces. Minty
foods can aggravate heartburn, so avoid them as well.
- Caffeine and alcohol can relax the LES causing stomach acids to reflux back into the esophagus. Therefore avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea) and
alcohol during pregnancy.
- Eat several smaller meals instead of three big ones. Also eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
- Avoid going to bed immediately after a meal or snack. This will allow your stomach some time to process the foods before you lie down.
- To ease night-time heartburn, sleep with your head and shoulders propped up with a wedge pillow.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid putting pressure on your stomach and abdomen.
Common Womens Health Problems
Natural Hiatal Hernia Remedies
Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
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