While nausea and vomiting are the top symptoms in the first trimester of pregnancy, by the time the second trimester starts, they are replaced by a new symptom: that is heartburn. It could continue till up to you give birth!
What is heartburn?
It is the burning sensation you feel in your chest and throat. Doctors say it is because of ‘Relaxin’, the hormones during pregnancy that relaxes the valve between your stomach and esophagus. This valve is called esophageal sphincter. When this valve becomes loose, it allows stomach acid to come up into your esophagus, which, in turn, causes heartburn.
While nausea is common in the first trimester, only 22% of pregnant women experience heartburn in that phase. In the second trimester, that number goes up to 39% and in the third, to 72%. Some of those who are lucky to have not got it so far may get it this week. Your pregnancy hormones that slow digestion make it easier for stomach acid to back up into the oesophagus. In addition, your uterus is huge now and is compressing the stomach.
What can you do to prevent heartburn?
Every pregnant woman’s triggering factors may be different. So, first study what your factors are and eliminate them. Here is a list to consider:
- Avoid overeating. And, no bingeing at all! Instead of having three meals a day with a small frequent meals five to six times a day.
- Eat slowly. Chew your food well. Like you have all the time in the world. When having liquids, make sure you sip them and not gulp large quantities at a time.
- Have a gap of, at least three hours before bedtime.
- Take a walk after meals.
- What kind of pillow do you like? It’s ideal that you use a pillow with a 6 inch thickness.
- Wear loose clothes, especially around your abdomen.
What are some food tips to manage heartburn?
- A cup of cold milk with one cube of ice, if sipped slowly can do wonders.
- Bananas are also good because they are alkaline in nature. Make sure you chew them well and not swallow!
- Apples are also good. Again, make sure you chew slowly and eat. When it comes to any foods, moderation is good. So, don’t have more than two bananas or two apples in a day.
- Oats are a soothing on the tummy, so do plan a breakfast with oats are the key ingredient.
- Vinegar is also good. Two spoons in warm water taken in the morning is a good habit.
- Many pregnant women swear by ginger. You could have ginger ale or keep some ginger candy in your purse.
- Most Indian food is garnished with chopped, green coriander! It’s not only flavoursome, it is also good for managing heartburn in pregnancy.
- Try some lemon juice also. IT’s a myth that it causes acidity! On the contrary, it is alkaline!
What are some foods to avoid for heartburn?
- Avoid fried foods even if you are really tempted! They will taste yummy and satisfy your cravings but the discomfort that will follow is not worth it.
- Avoid fizzy drinks.
- White sugar is really a devil when it comes to heartburn. So, please avoid sweets, donuts, cakes, icecreams. If craving sweet, try healthy things like Banana Panchamrit or sesame chikki.
- Coffee and tea are also triggering, so are smoking and no alcohol.
What are some lifestyle changes that I can make to manage heartburn?
Morning: On an empty stomach, have two glasses of warm water (sipping slowly) sit down comfortably preferably in Malasana: start by bringing your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and turning your toes out. Now, sit your hips as far down as you comfortably can. Your heels might lift a bit. Bring your elbows inside your knees, press your palms together, use your elbows to draw your knees apart, and lengthen your spine to the best of your ability.
- Mid-morning: Sip another glass of warm water.
- After every meal: Try to sit in Vajrasana after meals. Vajrasana is just folding your knees back and sitting on your folded legs. It helps in digestion!
- Morning / Evening: Choose a time of the the day that suits you to do yoga and meditation. It will work wonderfully to prevent acidity and heartburn.
Many studies have proven that anxiety and stress can be a triggering factor for heartburn. This routine of yoga and meditation is highly recommended.
Mums, heartburn is not harmful for the baby! But, it can be extremely bothersome for you. So, do follow these tips.