women experience heartburn or GERD during
pregnancy due to hormonal imbalance brought
about by pregnancy. The hormones weaken the
muscles and also cause some muscles to relax.
Relaxation of the LES causes the stomach contents
to reflux into the esophagus. Additionally, the
growing uterus also puts pressure on the stomach
pushing the stomach contents into the
usual symptoms of GERD are a burning sensation
usually present at the sternum and some pain that
in the chest. A few lifestyle changes work well in
dealing with GERD during
Posture. Most pregnant women experience heartburn
when their position causes their stomach to get
squeezed. Sitting well and not slouching will help
prevent acid reflux symptoms. Also, lying down
immediately or bending over after a meal
encourages the food to reflux back into the
esophagus. Bend at the knees rather than at the
waist. Bending at the waist puts more pressure on
Spicy, fatty, and fried foods are best eliminated
from the diet. The list also includes caffeinated
and alcoholic beverages, and other foods that do
not agree with the patient. She should be
encouraged to take frequent, smaller meals and
avoid big meals.
Avoid having meals on the go. Eat slowly and chew
each bite well. A calm frame of mind is essential
during meal times for proper
Drink plenty of water between meals to aid
digestion and increase the pressure on the LES.
Elevate the head of the bed by 4 inches to 8
inches. This allows gravity to do its work and
keep the contents of the stomach where they belong
- in the stomach.
Wear loose and comfortable clothes around the
waist and stomach.
Look out for excessive weight gain. Maintain a
healthy diet. Pregnancy does not mean eating for
Smoking is to be strictly
As far as possible use herbal and natural remedies
like chamomile, fennel, slippery elm, ginger,
licorice etc rather than over-the-counter drugs.
The natural remedies are far safer and just as
Honey mixed with warm milk effectively reduces
the comfort and health of the expectant mother and
her baby, it is best to employ a natural remedy
for heartburn when it occurs. There is no one
treat-all for GERD symptoms. Choosing an effective
remedy is a trial and error process. Natural
remedies safe, effective and have no side effects
for the expectant mother. Medications and drugs
may be taken only in very severe cases and that
too under medical supervision. Natural remedies
also have another advantage in that they can be
incorporated in daily life post-pregnancy too.
This is the holistic approach to dealing with
GERD during pregnancy. This includes dietary
modifications, stress management techniques,
avoidance of risk factors etc. which can help to
lead a healthy life.