Acid Reflux During Pregnancy

Acid reflux or heartburn is one of the most common problems pregnant women face. And it could be really uncomfortable. The bad part is, you cannot use many general treatments as they might be harmful to your baby. 

Before we move forward, it is crucial to discuss what causes heartburn and phlegm after eating. Post which, we will discuss some effective treatments for acid reflux for pregnant women. 

Reasons for Acid Reflux

Studies show that acid reflux is a common cause of mucus and phlegm cough after eating. Now depending on what you’re eating, the intensity of acid reflux will differ. 

Foods that cause acid reflux more often include deep-fried items, high-sugar foods, alcohol, soda, coffee, and citrus fruits (including tomato and onion). In addition, milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, and fish are the most common allergy foods for pregnant women. 

Additionally, eating too much or too fast also increases the risk of acid reflux. And if you’re allergic to certain food items, it’s best to avoid them to prevent any complications. 

It is also worth mentioning that a study by the University of Michigan examined the relationship between chocolate and acid reflux. They found that the serotonin released by the small intestine right after eating chocolate makes it easier for the stomach acids to enter the esophagus. So, if you have a history of acid reflux, it is best to avoid chocolate during pregnancy. 

Also, it’s not just about what you eat. During pregnancy, hormones change very quickly. At times, they even allow the esophagus muscles to relax more frequently, resulting in more acids coming back up, especially when you’re lying down. 

That’s not it. During the first trimester, muscles in your esophagus push food more slowly into your stomach and your stomach also takes a lot of time to be empty. This results in increased heartburn. 

How to Prevent (or Mitigate) Acid Reflux During Pregnancy?

The first step to preventing acid reflux during pregnancy is knowing the common triggers of heartburn. Identify what food items cause more acid reflux and avoid them as much as possible.

And while you do that, follow these steps to further mitigate heartburn:

  • Don’t lie down instantly after eating: It’s always tempting to take a post-meal nap, especially during pregnancy, but you should avoid it as much as possible. If you still feel like taking a nap after eating, lie down in an upright recliner to prevent acid reflux. 
  • Avoid spicy or fried foods: As mentioned above, fried foods are one of the major reasons for acid reflux. So, as much as you crave those potato chips, they’re not good for you, especially when eaten in a huge quantity. The same goes for spicy foods. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid them as much as possible. 
  • Eat small meals: As mentioned above, when you’re pregnant, the food goes to your stomach more slowly. Therefore, avoid eating large amounts of food in one go. Instead, eat small meals more frequently. 
  • Eat slowly: You’re pregnant and you should not be working (neither in the office nor at home). So, take as much time as you want to complete your meal. When you eat slowly, you reduce the risk of heartburn. 
  • Wear loose clothes: Tight clothes are anyway very uncomfortable when you’re pregnant. And when you’re trying to prevent acid reflux, tight clothes can be your biggest enemy. Thus, wear loose clothes that make you feel comfortable. 
  • Sleep on your left side: Several studies have found that sleeping on your left side can mitigate acid reflux. Besides, sleeping on your right puts your esophagus above your stomach, increasing the chances of heartburn. 

Talk to Your Doctor

If these tips don’t reduce or prevent acid reflux, then it’s probably time to take it up with your doctor. You should also consult your doctor if acid reflux starts affecting your everyday life, for instance, if you cannot sleep properly.

Summing Up

Acid reflux during pregnancy is a common problem. However, with the right preventive measures, you can mitigate heartburn and have a happy day. Make sure to follow all the tips mentioned in this article. And if you still don’t see any improvement, talk to your doctor about the same.

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