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Heartburn during Pregnancy

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Jyothi Ashok [BAMS, Ayurvedic physician, & General physician]


What does heartburn feel like?

Symptoms usually come soon after eating or drinking, but there can sometimes be a delay between eating and developing indigestion.


  • A burning sensation or pain in the chest. The uncomfortable sensation can move up your throat. You might also have a bitter or sour taste in the back of your throat.

  • Burping or belching, Feeling full, heavy, or bloated. 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.

In this article, you will learn about -

Heartburn during pregnancy
Heartburn during pregnancy

Why is heartburn common among pregnant mothers?

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.


Women may have acid reflux during pregnancy and experience heartburn due to changing hormone levels and the baby growing, changes in the body shape of the mother both inside and outside. as your baby grows, your enlarged uterus can crowd the abdomen, pushing stomach acids upward.


Your hormone levels change during pregnancy, affecting how you tolerate and digest foods. The hormones often slow down your digestive system. Food moves slower, causing bloating and heartburn.


Your food habits also change during pregnancy which can have an effect on your digestive system. Nausea, and vomiting, are also additional factors for the changes in the gastrointestinal tract.


Tips to reduce heart burn
Tips to reduce heart burn

How you can prevent heartburn during pregnancy?

Now that you know it is common, do not wait till you experience the symptom. Try to follow these simple tips early so that you can prevent heartburn.


  • Without much thought, the first tip is to avoid junk (it's not food), and processed food (food that has a longer shelf life compared to the natural ones!).

  • Completely avoid smoking, alcohol, and tobacco.

  • Too much spice in food can also cause irritation and indigestion issues.

  • Beverages like tea, and coffee can also trigger acid reflux in some women. Reduce the intake.

  • Do not drink water immediately after food. Wait for some time and drink some water, do not gulp a lot. Also do not drink water in between meals.

  • Avoid sleeping immediately after food. Keep a pillow or two to sleep a little elevated.

  • Do not wear tight clothes, especially around the abdomen and pelvic area.

  • Eat slowly, and chew your food well. It helps in digestion.

  • Don’t snack unless you are actually hungry. When your stomach is full, eating more can increase stomach pressure.

Foods that aggravate heartburn during pregnancy -
  • Foods that are high in salt, sugar, and spices.

  • Processed foods like chips, and other packaged snacks.

  • Tomato-based sauces, fatty meat such as bacon and sausage.

  • Carbonated beverages.

  • Deep-fried food, processed cheese, and citrus fruits (for some people).

  • Peppermint is also considered to aggravate heartburn.

  • Avoid too much caffeine.

  • Reduce veggies like garlic, onion, mint, chocolate, and soda-based beverages.


Foods that can help you with heartburn -
  • High fiber foods.

  • Whole grains, plant-based food.

  • Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets.

  • Alkaline foods like bananas, melons, cauliflower, fennel, and nuts.

  • High water content foods like celery, cucumber, and soups.

  • Plain bread, pancakes, and low-fat muffins.


Ayurveda recommendations -

  • Indian gooseberry or Amla. Taking gooseberry is easy, as it can be eaten raw or taken in the form of juice. It can also be included in a few recipes.

  • Cumin seeds. Either use the cumin seeds or powder them. Add half a spoon of it to water(around one liter). Then, keep the solution boiling then filter it. Drink this solution instead of normal water. Take this water-based solution every day till recovery. This is quite an effective remedy for hyperacidity.

  • White pumpkin (Ash guard) juice. Take white pumpkin peel and slice it, boil it, blend it in a blender and drink on an empty stomach. Raw food is difficult to digest.

  • Fennel seeds, also known as saunf, you can chew raw and slowly swallow with water for quick relief from acidity.

  • Buttermilk. You can take half a glass of buttermilk and add a pinch of each asafetida and turmeric to it. Traditionally buttermilk is the milk you get after churning curd and separating butter from it. Hence the name.

  • Ginger. It improves digestion and helps absorb and assimilate essential nutrients better. It also protects your stomach from ulcers by boosting mucus secretion, which reduces the damage to the stomach lining caused by acid.

  • Bananas(if it does not kapha to you). In Ayurveda, the potassium content in ripe bananas helps in eliminating sudden bouts of acidity. Bananas also aid in relieving constipation problems and cause a healthy bowel movement. You can opt for seasonal fruits too.

Conclusion

The tips above may help you prevent, but sometimes even after you follow everything, you might end up having heartburn, don’t lose your heart, sometimes it is unavoidable because the organs inside are cramped, and if it is troubling you a lot, let you doctor know and you might be prescribed some medications.


As it is important to maintain your physical as well as emotional health during pregnancy. A holistic approach is recommended during pregnancy, as your lifestyle directly impacts your health during pregnancy.


Expert Tips

  • If there is constipation, soak 10 raisins + 1 tsp of dhania (coriander seeds) powder at night, and drink it in the morning.

  • If you get stomach pain because of gas, drink jeera water the whole day instead of normal water.

  • If you feel the heat in the body, then soak dhania powder at night, and drink that water in the morning.

  • Any kind of mental tension will trigger the symptoms. So, be cool and learn to let go.

  • Eat when hungry and when there is hunger. do not skip meals.


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