If you’re experiencing heartburn during pregnancy, here are a few possible causes.
Many women experience heartburn for the first time while pregnant. In fact, 40 to 80 percent of all pregnant women will have heartburn. You should speak to your doctor if you are experiencing heartburn and ask for guidance on how to manage and treat it.
There can be two main reasons why being pregnant can cause heartburn. The first has to do with the body’s increasing hormone levels. These hormones act as a muscle relaxant that helps prepare your body for childbirth. The downside? An increase in hormones may also relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)—the valve responsible for keeping stomach acid from moving up into the esophagus where it doesn’t belong. If the LES is relaxed, the acid in your stomach can push up (reflux) into your esophagus. This acid may irritate your esophagus, causing heartburn.2
The second cause of heartburn in pregnant women develops as the pregnancy progresses. Babies grow at an incredible rate, and as they do, their increasing size can put pressure on your stomach. Often, this increased pressure can push the acid in your stomach up past the LES and back into your esophagus, causing heartburn.3
While your heartburn will likely stop after giving birth, if you breast-feed, your hormones may change again to trigger heartburn. Additionally, women who experience heartburn while pregnant have an increased risk for developing heartburn or GERD later in life.
While antacids have been used in pregnancy, there are other treatments for heartburn that may not be appropriate during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you should speak to your doctor prior to using heartburn treatments, such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). When in doubt, talk to your doctor about the right heartburn relief treatments for you.
Read the full article on Tums.com
*Always discuss any changes to your routine with your doctor.*
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