If you have ever experienced heartburn, you know how uncomfortable it is. For most of us, heartburn can be managed with the help of antacids, medications, or by avoiding certain foods. However, this isn’t always the case for women during pregnancy. There are certain medications that are off-limits for pregnant women, so treating indigestion and heartburn isn’t as straightforward during pregnancy. Fortunately, some solutions are deemed safe by doctors and researchers for women to take while pregnant.
Today, we will discuss everything you need to know about heartburn, ingestion, Gaviscon, and pregnancy.
What is Heartburn?
It seems like a simple enough question, but there are some common misconceptions about heartburn that should be addressed. For one, it has nothing to do with your heart. Heartburn is a burning sensation in your throat caused by stomach acid that has entered the esophagus, otherwise known as acid reflux. There are many causes of acid reflux, and it can be managed by avoiding particular foods and habits, but sometimes there is no explanation…
especially in pregnant women.
Acid reflux can feel like a lump in your throat, a burning sensation, or even a sour or bitter taste in your mouth. It happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) isn’t functioning correctly. Think of the LES as a door between your throat and stomach; it opens to allow food to pass through and closes to prevent stomach acid from escaping.
Heartburn During Pregnancy
The first thing to understand is that it is common for pregnant women to experience heartburn or indigestion issues. In the early stages of pregnancy, it is most likely caused by hormonal changes that relax the LES, allowing stomach acid to escape. Later in pregnancy (second and third trimesters), your stomach is under more pressure as your uterus grows to accommodate your baby’s growth. This can also result in stomach acids seeping into your esophagus, leading to heartburn and indigestion.
Symptoms of heartburn while pregnant include:
- – Bloating
- – Chest pain
- – Feeling like something is stuck in your throat
- – Nausea
- – Regurgitation
If you have been experiencing heartburn during pregnancy, there are safe solutions to managing your acid reflux symptoms. Most over-the-counter antacids are safe to take during pregnancy, but many proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are not, which is why it is always a good idea to discuss symptoms and treatment options with your doctor.
Aside from medications, here are some additional tips that may help to reduce heartburn during pregnancy:
- – Avoid carbonated beverages
- – Chew gum after meals
- – Avoid eating chocolate
- – Avoid foods with higher acidity (citrus, tomatoes, pickles, etc)
- – Eat smaller meals throughout the day (as opposed to three large meals)
- – Avoid spicy or fried foods
- – Avoid eating late at night (at least 2-3 hours before bedtime)
- – Drinking milk can neutralize the acid
- – Instead of over-the-counter medications, try Gaviscon for pregnancy-related heartburn
Gaviscon & Pregnancy
When it comes to reflux relief, some other treatments or solutions may be considered safer for pregnant women. Although antacids such as TUMS are safe to take during pregnancy, many women would rather seek other solutions, such as Gaviscon. Unlike other medications that enter the bloodstream, Liquid Gaviscon is a reflux suppressant that utilizes alginate therapy to create an esophageal blocker naturally.
Alginates have become a breakthrough in effectively preventing acid reflux naturally. Instead of stomach acid inhibiting drugs (like proton pump inhibitors), Liquid Gaviscon works by creating a raft that sits on top of stomach contents, coating the stomach and esophagus with a soothing gel that prevents digestive acid and enzymes from moving up the esophagus. It is then digested and never enters the bloodstream, which is why people
often choose Gaviscon in pregnancy.
Recent studies that have tested the efficacy and safety of raft-forming alginates (like Gavison) have suggested that they are entirely safe and effective in treating heartburn in pregnant women.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can cause many changes to your body. While some of these changes are perfectly normal, they can cause pain or discomfort, such as the case with heartburn. It is best to discuss options with your doctor for matters pertaining to heartburn, use of Gaviscon, and pregnancy.