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5 Safe Home Remedies for Heartburn During Pregnancy 2022

mitchelle-Morgan

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

home remedies heartburn during pregnancy

Have you ever felt that burning feeling in your chest that gets frequent when pregnant? That’s most likely heartburn or acid reflux symptoms.

Heartburn is quite common for pregnant women and can be a source of discomfort. As you feel the stomach acid traveling up the esophagus, it’s hard not to feel like gagging. You may get medications from your doctor to treat heartburn. However, there are some home remedies for heartburn symptoms during pregnancy.

In this article, get to learn about five natural remedies for heartburn. These are the safest ways for pregnant women to solve this issue without putting themselves or the baby in danger.

Natural Remedies To Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy

  1. Honey And Milk
  2. Eat Some Papaya
  3. Drink Natural Yogurt
  4. A Little Ginger
  5. Sugar-Free Gum

Causes of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Being pregnant is supposed to be an exciting time when you have life growing in you. Unfortunately, all those radiant pregnancy pictures you see in magazines only tell half the story. While being pregnant is an exceptional feeling for a woman, it’s also a time of many body changes.

Being pregnant can mean swollen ankles, morning sickness, and severe heartburn symptoms. The searing heat you feel as acid travels up the esophagus is one of the worst feelings. And, it has nothing to do with indigestion when pregnant.

When you experience pregnancy heartburn or acid reflux symptoms, it feels like fire traveling from your digestive tract to your throat. Unfortunately, many women face heartburn in early pregnancy, which continues until they give birth.

Apart from the searing sensation, some other characteristics that you can associate with heartburn include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Bloating
  • Sore throat
  • Belching
  • Sour taste

But, what causes heartburn when pregnant? Why do many pregnant women experience unpleasant acid reflux?

Almost 45%[1] of pregnant women experience heartburn. It’s a common gastrointestinal issue that accompanies acid reflux symptoms. It’s impossible to know if you’ll experience heartburn during your first, second, or third trimester.

The burning feeling can start at any time during your pregnancy. Below are some changes in your body that can lead to heartburn.

Progesterone

When does pregnancy heartburn start? Heartburn for pregnant women starts at the beginning when they have more progesterone. This is also known as one of the pregnancy[2] hormones. Progesterone is responsible for nurturing your womb and the baby you carry in it. As this happens, certain muscles in your body start to relax as pregnancy advances.

Since progesterone is a form of muscle relaxer, it leads to the parts of the Lower Esophagus sphincter (LE) loosening up. The once-tight muscles kept the acid in your stomach. But, the minute the LE is loose, it’s easier for acid to travel up the esophagus leading to acid reflux.

The LE muscle stays tight under normal circumstances and is only open to let food and drink pass through to the digestive tract. However, it’s normal for pregnant women to experience a surge in hormone levels[3]. When this happens, the muscle will most likely relax and let digestive juices pass through your throat and mouth.

Bulging Pregnancy

Your baby starts to grow in the womb from the beginning of your pregnancy. As time passes, your abdomen gets bigger because of the growing baby inside. This is also the time when your body organs start to compete for space with your baby.

As a pregnancy advances, the uterus tends to pile on the pressure. This means even your stomach will feel the strain since there’s now a lack of ample space. Unfortunately, when this happens, you may experience stomach acids coming from the stomach up the esophagus.

As your baby grows, this can worsen the heartburn, especially if you’re carrying a big baby, twins, or more babies. Competing for space makes it hard for the stomach to hold its content.

Reduced Digestion Rate

Again, as progesterone levels surge in your body, other functions[4] like digestion get affected. It’s quite common for pregnant women to experience slow digestion as the body muscles start to relax. Also, the small and large intestines feel this slower pace, plus the gall bladder.

Natural Remedies to Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy

Having heartburn during pregnancy is the worst. But, you don’t have to suffer for nine months. Here are some natural pregnancy heartburn remedies for pregnancy heartburn. These home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy can offer lots of relief.

Honey and Milk

It’s safe to add some honey into milk and drink it while pregnant. Adding honey to milk won’t harm your baby and will provide the heartburn relief you need.

The mixture works its way down your esophagus, extinguishing the burning sensation. It’s ideal when you take a glass of cold or warm milk as one of the natural heartburn remedies.

Eat Some Papaya

Have ripe papaya when you feel the flames start to rise. Ripe papaya is safe for pregnant women. The one to avoid is unripe. There are many essential nutrients in ripe papaya with yellow skin.

It has a cooling effect that soothes your esophagus[5] and is among the best natural heartburn remedies. Papaya digestive enzymes also help quiet indigestion and quiet the storm in your stomach.

Drink Natural Yogurt

home remedies heartburn during pregnancy - natural yogurt

Natural yogurt can be a good friend during pregnancy since it’s rich in probiotics. When you eat natural yogurt, it may help to relieve heartburn[6] and soothe its effect.

Apart from soothing, yogurt also coats the lining of your esophagus that’s otherwise damaged by the digestive juices. But, always opt for low-fat yogurt as part of your natural heartburn remedies. Fatty foods or fried foods can, at times, make the issue worse.

A Little Ginger

Chewing a little ginger is okay during pregnancy. In fact, ginger is a known natural remedy for heartburn. But, when pregnant, it’s better to chew it in moderation.

Apart from chewing, you can prepare a cup of fresh ginger tea for pregnancy heartburn relief. You can mix this with some peppermint tea. While no scientific research supports this, people have been using ginger for heartburn relief for a long time. It’s great for decreasing inflammation when seeking natural heartburn remedies.

Sugar-Free Gum

A 2005 study[7] found that pregnant chewing sugar-free gum can help soothe the burning sensation. Participants did this for half an hour after eating and experienced less acid reflux. So, have sugar-free gum after eating if you want to relieve pregnancy heartburn.

Safe Medication for Heartburn During Pregnancy

It’s good to try out natural remedies for heartburn symptoms relief. This means you don’t have to take drastic measures if they work. But, if you still experience severe heartburn during pregnancy, seek medical advice. A doctor can prescribe specific heartburn medications to relieve pregnancy heartburn that are safe for you and your baby.

Pregnant women can try over-the-counter heartburn medications like antacids to relieve heartburn. Examples of effective over-the-counter antacids[8] include:

  • Maalox
  • Tums
  • Rolaids

These antacids are made using magnesium and calcium carbonate and are safe for pregnant women. But, if you’re in your third trimester, avoid taking magnesium[9] since it interferes with contractions. Also, steer clear of antacids that have lots of sodium. Excess sodium levels lead to fluid buildup in tissues.

Another form of antacid that pregnant women shouldn’t take contains aluminum hydroxide. In most cases, the ingredient is among the leading causes of constipation.

Always consult your physician about the right medication for heartburn and eat fewer fatty foods. Antacids sometimes may not offer the relief you need as your pregnancy advances. Instead of taking lots of them, let your doctor offer an alternative stronger heartburn medication that is safe for you and your baby.

How to Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy has a high chance of occurring even with changes in your lifestyle. However, there are some changes that you can make to reduce the rate of burning sensation. Such a change can lessen the occurrence of acid reflux and keep you and your baby safe.

Eat Slowly

Be deliberate about chewing your food before you swallow. Slow chewing helps you reduce the food to smaller particles that your stomach digests easily. Also, work on spacing your meals and eating only fresh food. Stay away from fermented foods.

Change Food and Drinks

Are you eating food and taking carbonated beverages that trigger heartburn? When pregnant, it’s better to steer clear of such food and drinks. It’s for your own good. Some people love spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, citrus fruits, and fermented foods. While these are good to enjoy, avoiding indulging during pregnancy is better.

Sleep Elevated with Stomach Upward

If you enjoy sleeping flat on your bed without a pillow for your neck, it’s time to change that. Having a pillow where you rest your head elevates your upper body and keeps the stomach upward. That way, the stomach acids have difficulty traveling up the esophagus when asleep.

Don’t Eat Before Bed

Space the time you eat and the time you go to bed. This gives your stomach ample time to digest the food you eat and send it along. When you eat and then head to bed 10 minutes later, there’s a high chance you’ll experience heartburn. If you must snack, try healthy options like some fennel seeds.

Drink Water with A Little Apple Cider Vinegar

Water is your friend during pregnancy, especially when suffering from acid reflux or heartburn[10]. Cool water with a little apple cider vinegar soothes your esophagus and helps neutralize the stomach acids. Also, you can drink come cool low-fat almond milk.

Take a Walk

After eating, avoid lying down. Instead, get up and take a leisurely walk, especially during the second and third trimesters. Walking[11] is among the best ways to aid digestion in the digestive tract and prevent heartburn.

The Bottom Line

Heartburn during pregnancy can be quite frustrating since it messes with your comfort levels. Unfortunately, it might be something you can’t avoid. If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, there are 5 natural remedies listed above that you can try.

Another alternative to home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy is antacids or medication your doctor prescribes in severe cases. Still, you can make some lifestyle changes to help prevent heartburn.


+ 11 sources

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  1. Vazquez, J.C. (2015). Heartburn in pregnancy. BMJ clinical evidence, [online] 2015, p.1411. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562453/#:~:text=Heartburn%20is%20one%20of%20the,of%2017%25%20to%2045%25.
  2. Magon, N. and Kumar, P. (2012). Hormones in pregnancy. Nigerian Medical Journal, [online] 53(4), p.179. doi:10.4103/0300-1652.107549.
  3. Rochester.edu. (2022). Pregnancy and Heartburn – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center. [online] Available at: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=134&ContentID=10
  4. Rochester.edu. (2022). Pregnancy- How Your Digestion Changes – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center. [online] Available at: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=90&contentid=P09521#:~:text=Pregnancy%20hormones%20can%20affect%20the,also%20affected%20with%20delayed%20emptying.
  5. Muss (2013). Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive disorders. Neuro endocrinology letters, [online] 34(1). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23524622/
  6. Fernando, I., Schmidt, K.A., Cromer, G., Burhans, M.S., Kuzma, J.N., Hagman, D.K., Utzschneider, K.M., Holte, S., Kraft, J., Vaughan, T.L. and Kratz, M. (2022). The impact of low-fat and full-fat dairy foods on symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease: an exploratory analysis based on a randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Nutrition. [online] doi:10.1007/s00394-022-02855-6.
  7. Moazzez, R., Bartlett, D. and Anggiansah, A. (2005). The Effect of Chewing Sugar-free Gum on Gastro-esophageal Reflux. Journal of Dental Research, [online] 84(11), pp.1062–1065. doi:10.1177/154405910508401118.
  8. Garg, V., Narang, P. and Taneja, R. (2022). Antacids revisited: review on contemporary facts and relevance for self-management. Journal of International Medical Research, [online] 50(3), p.030006052210864. doi:10.1177/03000605221086457.
  9. Zhang, Y., Xun, P., Chen, C., Lu, L., Shechter, M., Rosanoff, A. and He, K. (2020). Magnesium levels in relation to rates of preterm birth: a systematic review and meta-analysis of ecological, observational, and interventional studies. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 79(2), pp.188–199. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuaa028.
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mitchelle-Morgan

Medically reviewed by:

Mitchelle Morgan is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master's in Communication. Her mission is to provide readers with information that helps them live a better lifestyle. All her work is backed by scientific evidence to ensure readers get valuable and actionable content.

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