Pregnancy has its fair share of issues and pains – from morning sickness, cramping, tiredness and heartburn. Here, nutritionist Cheree Sheldon talks about ways to deal with heartburn during pregnancy:
When I was pregnant with my daughter I had filthy morning sickness. I vomited for months! It had eased off, I started to feel really good, and then I had this awful pain in my chest at the base of my throat and I had no idea what it was. All I knew was that it hurt, and it wasn’t going away! I described it to a friend who laughed and said “Oh, that’s just heartburn..have some fruit tingles.” And I was even more confused. THIS was HEARTBURN? And how would a lollie full of sugar and colours help?
Well, it turns out they don’t.. it is because they contain bicarb that they may make a difference, but you are better off just mixing bicarb with water.
I did a bit of research as I was concerned why this was happening, and it is a really common occurrence in pregnancy. The hormones produced during pregnancy relax the sphincter at the top of your stomach and this unfortunately lets the food and stomach acid go back up the oesophagus where it hurts like hell! The bad news is sometimes this begins in trimester two and stays until the end..but the good news is there are ways to ease the burn.
17 tips to help ease heartburn during pregnancy
1. Focus on what you are eating, and when
Obviously if a food is setting you off, then avoid it! Common triggers are greasy food and spicy food, but it can be different for everyone
2. Be mindful when you are eating
Chew your food properly and with your mouth closed. Take your time with meals and don’t eat on the run as this stresses your digestion.
3. Portion control!
As your baby grows your stomach gets squished. Eat smaller meals more often to avoid over eating and the food getting pushed back up the pipes. Try a Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie as a healthy pregnancy snack in between main meals.
4. Have food and drink separately
Drinking while you eat dilutes your digestive juices, because of this they don’t work as well to break down food. Drink water between your meals instead.
5. Give it time
Make sure you eat at least an hour before going to bed and two hours before exercising.
6. Incorporate antioxidant rich foods to help reduce inflammation
Think brightly coloured fruits and veggies.
7. Drink soothing teas
We like chamomile, peppermint, fennel, or ginger.
8. Mix bicarb in water and have small amounts throughout the day
This will help neutralise the burning effect of the stomach acid on the lining of the oesophagus.
9. Use slippery elm
If you mix the powdered bark in water and drink it, it will form a lining all the way down your oesophagus and on your stomach wall. This will help protect it and feels really soothing.
10. Don’t smoke or passive smoke
Smoking is already a health risk when pregnant, but it also makes heartburn worse.
11. Sleep upright
If the heartburn is affecting your sleep, try raising the head of the bed up a little and sleeping more upright.
12. Drink paw paw leaf tea or have some fermented paw paw.
Use the lower end of the dose that is recommended on the packet and this will help your digestion.
13. Drink two teaspoons of aloe vera juice per day
There is conflicting info about aloe Vera juice on the net, and this is based on high doses used to treat constipation. In small doses like this, it will help digestion and assist with healing of the digestive tract.
14. Cook up some cabbage
Cabbage leaf soup or real sauerkraut may help.
15. Marshmallow tea
This is a demulcent and will help line the digestive tract.
16. Reduce stress!
Easier said than done sometimes, but taking things slowly and relaxing may help.
For some mums-to-be, acupuncture has been shown to help.
Give some of these ideas a try and see if it helps you out!
Did you know The Healthy Mummy has a Pregnancy Smoothie?
The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie is a convenient and nutritious supplementary drink. Designed to complement your existing pregnancy vitamins or supplements, our Pregnancy Smoothie can help you meet the increased nutritional requirements of pregnant women.
Our Pregnancy Smoothie is made from whole foods, is high in protein and calcium, contains probiotics and is a good source of fibre.