Heartburn is a common complaint among pregnant women. The growing baby and expanding uterus places pressure on the stomach which can push stomach acids out to the base of the esophagus, causing inflammation or heartburn. The good news is it should disappear once you have had your baby.
Heartburn is also called Acid Reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux), which occurs when the muscular valve separating the esophagus from the stomach does not create an adequate seal and there is a a back flow of stomach acid.
Heartburn may also be the result of too little stomach acid, a condition which allows an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in your digestive system. Maintaining a good balance of healthy intestinal flora is the best form of prevention and treatment.
Many women find an over-the-counter antacid provides relief from heartburn. Some experts say these tablets are a good source of calcium, while others say that we don’t absorb this form of calcium very well and it can cause a rebound or increase in stomach acid.
Alfalfa tablets are also used as a natural treatment for heartburn. Alfalfa also contains lots of good minerals, making them a good nutritional supplement as well.
Suggestions and Tips for Reducing Heartburn
- Take digestive enzymes before each meal
- Take an after meal walk so your food may digest.
- Eat smaller more frequent meals
- Add more alkaline foods to your diet.
- Reduce carbohydrates and sugars
- Take a probiotic, and add probiotic foods to your diet.
- Do not lie down too soon after eating, tilting the stomach toward the esophagus, one cause of acid reflux.
- Avoid all spicy foods!
- Avoid high acid foods.
- Avoid alcohol beverages and caffeine – they stimulate excess stomach acid.
A list of low acid or alkaline foods include:
- Raw almonds
- Butternut squash
- Miso soup
- Drink young coconut water and eat the soft coconut meat too.
Some people find the following helpful in reducing heart burn:
- Swallow a spoonful of raw honey
- Sip warm milk or take a tablespoon of fresh cream, when you feel the burning.
- Eat a piece of raw white potato
- Eat a slice of apple
- Keep raw nuts like cashew or almonds in your pocket, eat often, chew well.
- Eat papaya, fresh and or dried, often. It will help your digestion.
- Eat baked sweet potato or white potato with just a bit of salt
Yoga as a Treatment for Heartburn
When doing yoga, asanas, or chest opening poses, are encouraged.
These postures help lift the front of your body, which can counter the pressure on the compressed esophagus and create more room in the chest.
Chest opening poses include modified camel (Ustrasana), supported fish pose (Matsyasana), and Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I).
Also, raising the arms up over the head can alleviate esophageal pressure, as can keeping the torso at a 45 degree angle when reclining.