What is heartburn?
Heartburn and indigestion are often confused. Heartburn is a symptom of indigestion. Indigestion can also present as burping, vomiting, acid reflux/regurgitation, or feeling bloated.
Heartburn is the burning sensation that can sit behind your sternum when you’re experiencing indigestion.
How to manage heartburn
Heartburn won’t harm your baby, but it can be very uncomfortable to endure. Heartburn medications do exist, though as with any medicine, it is best to discuss with your doctor first.
There are plenty of natural ways to help prevent heartburn:
- Eat smaller meals, less frequently and chew slowly. Give yourself more time to digest.
- Avoid eating late at night or before lying down. Lying on your back will send the acid back up toward your esophagus and increase the chance of heartburn.
- Avoid or minimize foods or drinks that could trigger indigestion. Commonly, these include spicy foods, greasy foods, or acidic things like fruit juice or coffee.
- Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are also not recommended during pregnancy. These can both lead to heartburn, too.
- Work against gravity. When you lay down, raise your head up with a few extra pillows.
- Chew gum. Chewing increases activity in your salivatory glands and can neutralize stomach acids.
- Avoid eating and drinking at the same time. This can make you fuller, feel more bloated and you may ingest more air as you eat and drink.
- Reduce anxiety where possible. Anxiety can lead to heartburn. Try breathing exercises, meditation, or consult your doctor about coping strategies.
If heartburn has no real impact on your day-to-day life, you likely won’t need to medicate. If you are struggling with persistent heartburn, and these tips aren’t helping, talk to your doctor about alternative management solutions.