Many women tend to experience acid reflux attacks during pregnancy and the symptoms can make it a very uncomfortable experience. As we know pregnancy is wrought with changes. Hormonal, digestive and emotional changes are the accepted parts of pregnancy, and acidity and heartburn may be one of the negative possibilities.
There are various reasons for acid reflux. Hormonal changes or the increasing pressure on the belly may be one of the reasons the muscles that control the esophagus opening may relax, causing reflux attacks. Under these circumstances, the lower esophageal sphincter, which is supposed to stay closed once the food has passed into the stomach, actually opens up and allows the gastric acid and other acidic contents to flow back into the throat and esophagus passage.
An acidity attack can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences even for a normal adult but for a pregnant woman, already facing so many different changes, a reflux incident can be very difficult to handle. While many people recommend antacids, you may find out that these don’t work each time and sometimes, may not work at all.
What is needed are a few, slowly incorporated changes to your diet and daily routine. Some of the following points detail the various ways you can avoid acid attacks during your pregnancy. You will, of course, need to consult your health practitioner and make any required changes only under his guidance.
• The primary culprit is food. You need to avoid foods that can trigger an acidity attack and cause heartburn. The list includes (and is not restricted to): chocolates, spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, fatty and fried foods, coffee and sodas.
• Caffeinated drinks have a tendency to relax the LES (lower esophagus sphincter) and allow the acid to flow upwards.
• Alcohol is an absolutely not advisable in pregnancy and the same applies to smoking. Both of these trigger reflux attacks.
• Smaller meals help contain heartburn and any acidity attacks. Avoid eating large meals in one sitting. Instead take several small meals throughout the day which will be easier (and lighter)on your digestive system.
• Eat you meals slowly. And chew your food well. Chewing allows the production of the necessary enzymes that help digest your food and also prevents heartburn.
• Have your dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. A short walk will also help you with your digestion and avoid the acidity. Laying down immediately after meals is a trigger for heartburn.
• Elevate your head while sleeping. You can do this by way of a special wedge pillow or even by actually raising that part of your bed. This will allow the contents of your stomach to stay down and not make their way up to the esophageal tract.
• Avoid bending down to pick up things. Especially bending from the waist as it creates pressure on the abdominal area.
• Weight management through a gentle exercise program. Overweight people tend to have frequent reflux attacks. Incorporating daily walking or swimming can help you manage your weight during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for the right exercise for you.
• Add some essential oils to yours bath or you can even apply them after checking for allergies. Stress is one of the causes of acid reflux attacks, and essential oils like chamomile or lavender can help you feel calm and stress-free.
The above are just some of the measures you can adopt to make your pregnancy an acidity free period. If you had a tendency to reflux attacks even before you were pregnant, you may want to keep that in mind and make sure that you take appropriate measures to help yourself. Ultimately, forewarned is actually being forearmed!