Heartburn and Reflux in Pregnancy

Heartburn or reflux in pregnancy is a common complaint and seems to be worse in the first and third trimesters. Progesterone, the hormone that relaxes muscles in pregnancy, also relaxes the stomach valve that keeps acid out of the oesophagus. By the last trimester, your baby is taking up so much space that the stomach becomes squashed and acid can be forced back into the oesophagus.

Reduce or avoid symptoms by:

  • Eat smaller sized meals more frequently.
  • Eat warm and easy to digest foods (soups, stews, casseroles, porridge, miso soup, soaked foods)
  • Take your time, chew well and eat slowly.
  • Sipping is fine but don’t drink too many fluids with meals as it can dilute your digestive enzymes.
  • Sit or stand up after a meal to allow space for digestion.
  • Try not to eat to close to bedtime. You may need to elevate your upper body by sleeping on an extra pillow if you are suffering reflux symptoms at night.
  • Slippery Elm powder mixed with a little warm water can be sipped after a meal to reduce symptoms.
  • Chamomile or fennel tea sipped before meals can help.
  • Digestive enzymes can be prescribed by a naturopath if these suggestions are not enough.
About the author

Belinda Kirkpatrick is an expert Nutritionist and Naturopath in Sydney. She specialises in natural fertility, family and women's health care. She is the author of Healthy Hormones (a practical guide to balancing your hormones) and is the founder of the SEED Concept and also Seed App for iPhone.

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