True Causes of Pregnancy Heartburn

CVS Antacid Liquid
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mr. T in DC

Heartburn is a fairly common symptom of pregnancy.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of women will experience some degree or another of heartburn during some point or another during their pregnancy.  While heartburn may basically be a harmless condition, it can nevertheless be very frustrating, and can sometimes be painful as well.  It is, mainly, changes in the woman’s body chemistry that can cause heartburn during pregnancy.  Understanding the changes that take place in a woman’s body during pregnancy can help a woman to better treat her heartburn during pregnancy.

Heartburn is directly related to the stomach acids that a body produces.  When some of those digestive acids make their way up out of the stomach into the esophagus, it will create an uncomfortable and sometimes painful burning feeling in the chest.  This is the primary characteristic of heartburn.  While this burning can feel as though it is taking place just about anywhere in the chest, it tends to be the worst in the area from your throat down through the bottom area of your breast bone.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy are responsible for causing heartburn.  During pregnancy, your body produces much more of the hormone progesterone than it does when you are not pregnant.  Progesterone serves some specific purposes during pregnancy.  One of the things that is accomplished by progesterone is the relaxing of the uterine muscles.  This allows the uterus to grow bigger as your baby grows bigger.  Unfortunately, the same mechanism in progesterone that helps your uterine to relax can also relax the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, thereby allowing digestive acids to get through and cause heartburn.

There are things you can do to avoid heartburn during pregnancy, as well as some things that you can do to lessen the severity.  Avoiding foods that cause heartburn, such as fatty foods or spicy foods, may help.  Avoiding acidic foods like juices and tomatoes may also help.  There are a variety of nutritional supplements and herbal teas that may help to stop your heartburn once it starts, as well.  Be certain to check with your health care provider before taking any medications for heartburn during pregnancy, as the safety of all heartburn medications is not known during pregnancy.

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