Heartburn sucks. I am prone to it even when not pregnant but when I am pregnant it is unbearable. I was told by my extremely unhelpful midwife when I was pregnant with Harrison that there was nothing I could safely take other than Gaviscon (which I drank like pop and still did nothing!), so battled through. I now know that there is medication that is safe during pregnancy, and if it gets too bad again I will be at the doctors asking for something!
Heartburn is common during pregnancy, with most mums experiencing the incredible burning pain in your throat, chest and tummy. Like most people, I get it worse at night, and nine times out of ten it makes me actually vomit, which is horrible but a relief sometimes as it gets it out of my system long enough to sleep. With Harrison and Alex I was being sick two or three times a night because of it.
Many things can cause heartburn. When pregnant, all the hormones that are flying about your body cause the muscle at the top of your stomach, which usually stops the acid coming up into your esophagus to relax, so the acid is free to go to places it shouldn’t. Nice. Towards the end of a pregnancy, baby pushes everything upwards so it gets even worse. That’s something to look forward to! Obviously, I’m not a doctor, and what works for one won’t work for someone else, but here are some things I have tried and they’ve worked for me.
I have actually read that some research has shown that although it eases heartburn temporarily, in the long run it can make it worse as it encourages the stomach to produce more acid. I don’t know how true that is, but when you feel like you’re insides are on fire, there is nothing more soothing than a glass of ice cold milk! The effect is usually temporary though, but any relief is better than nothing!
Refresher Sweets/Love Hearts
I didn’t believe this one until I tried it about three weeks before Alex was born. Someone on Twitter recommended it, and even though I think the sweets are vile, I was desperate enough to try anything – and it did seem to work.
At the moment this seems to be the thing working best for me. Mint tea is one of the few flavoured teas I like. I have ones that have other ingredients in, such as mint and chamomile, but all of them seem to work. I make up a big glass of it (with a tiny bit of honey to sweeten) and take it up to bed. Through the night, if I feel acid rising up I sip at it and immediately it eases. Luckily, it does taste okay cold!
Lying slightly propped up
Not the most comfortable solution, but slightly easier with my amazing Theraline pregnancy pillow . I can be absolutely fine when sitting up but the second I lie down, the burning starts. It doesn’t have to be much, just keep your head slightly elevated so the acid can run back down to where it is meant to be!
Not eating too late
I tend to eat with the kids fairly anyway – I try not to eat after 6.30, which is a good amount of time for food to digest before I go to bed at around 10pm, but I have found on the odd occasion where I have eaten late, it is much worse.
Avoiding certain foods
This one is one I’m not very good at following. Spicy food, caffeine and chocolate can trigger heartburn. I am a caffeine addict (yes I know I shouldn’t drink too much coffee when pregnant!!), I am a chocoholic and I love spicy food. I try to avoid these on an evening, but I sometimes do forget, and suffer all the more for it!
How do you deal with heartburn?