Nutrition · Pregnancy

5 tips to help reduce heartburn symptoms in pregnancy

young pregnant woman in baby room looking like she's feeling nauseous

Someone call the fire department because it feels like I’m on fire!

Many of my clients experience heartburn at one point in their pregnancy.  Heartburn is a burning feeling in your throat or chest.  It may also feel like you have food stuck in your chest.  It may get worse as your baby grows because there is less room for your stomach to expand.  Heartburn may happen in pregnancy because of slow digestion. ‘Trigger’ foods can also increase acid build up in your stomach.

Try these 5 tips to help reduce heartburn in pregnancy:

  1. Eat small meals every 2 to 3 hours.
    Eating small meals will help with slow digestion and will still make you feel full.  Include a source of protein to each meal to calm down stomach acid.
  1. Avoid foods that ‘trigger’ heartburn.
    These include:
    –   acidic foods: citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato sauce
    –   spicy foods
    –   high fat foods: salad dressings, cooking oils, french fries and other fried foods
    –   foods or drinks with caffeine: tea, coffee, and chocolate
    –   peppermint
    –   onions and garlic
  1. Avoid drinking fluids with food.
    Drink fluids 20 to 30 minutes before or after meals and snacks.  If you drink and eat at the same time you may feel too full.  You may need to take small sips of fluid with food to help swallow dry foods.
  1. Avoid lying down after meals.
    Gravity will work against you!  To reduce heartburn try to eat 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed. If you need to lie down soon after eating, elevate your upper body and head by using a pillow to sit yourself up.
  1. Be active every day.
    Physical activity helps with digestion.  Going for a short walk after meals will help to move the food in your stomach.

Hopefully these lifestyle tips will help reduce your symptoms of heartburn.

Some pregnant individuals need to take medications to reduce their symptoms of heartburn.  If your heartburn does not going away, discuss it with your health care provider first before taking medications.

Contact Toronto Public Health and speak to a dietitian if you have additional questions about your heartburn.

 

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