Heartburn is a common symptom during pregnancy. Changes in your hormones and body shape can contribute to acid reflux and heartburn. A few dietary and lifestyle changes can prevent and relieve symptoms.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is when you have a burning feeling in your chest. The uncomfortable sensation can move up your throat. You may also have a bitter or sour taste in the back of your throat.
Though it’s called “heartburn,” it’s not related to your heart. It happens because of acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid moves from your stomach up to your esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food, liquid, and saliva to your stomach.
A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) sits between the esophagus and stomach. It opens to allow food to pass, then closes so acid doesn’t travel back up your esophagus. But if the LES doesn’t close properly, the acid can move into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
Why does heartburn happen during pregnancy?
Heartburn is a common symptom that women experience during pregnancy. Changing hormones and shifts in body shape can lead to heartburn.
What is acid reflux during pregnancy?
People use the terms “heartburn” and “acid reflux” to mean the same thing. But they have different definitions:
Acid reflux refers to the LES not tightening as it should. This allows the stomach acid to travel from your stomach up to your esophagus. (Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a severe form of acid reflux.)
Heartburn, the feeling of pain or burning in your chest, is a symptom of acid reflux.
Women may have acid reflux during pregnancy and experience heartburn due to changing hormone levels and the baby growing.
What does heartburn during pregnancy feel like?
If you have heartburn, you may:
How common is heartburn during pregnancy?
More than half of all pregnant women report severe heartburn, especially during the third trimester. It’s more common in people who have been pregnant before and those who had heartburn before pregnancy.
What causes heartburn during pregnancy?
Causes of heartburn during pregnancy include:
How can I get relief from pregnancy heartburn?
Try these natural remedies for pregnancy heartburn relief:
Can I take over-the-counter antacids to relieve heartburn during pregnancy?
Talk to your healthcare provider before taking antacids. They may contain high sodium levels, which can cause you to retain water. Some also have aluminum in them, which isn’t safe to consume during pregnancy. Your provider can recommend an antacid that’s safe during pregnancy.
How can heartburn during pregnancy be prevented?
You can take steps to reduce heartburn symptoms without hurting your baby.
Other tips to avoid heartburn during pregnancy:
When should I call my healthcare provider about heartburn during pregnancy?
If heartburn isn’t going away, talk to your provider. They can prescribe medications that are safe to take while pregnant.
You should also call your provider if you:
Heartburn can have similar symptoms to a heart attack. If you’ve never had heartburn before and you’re having chest pains, call your provider or head to the nearest ER.