Hellish Heartburn

Pregnancy heartburn


If you feel a burning sensation in your chest after you eat, it’s probably heartburn (also called acid indigestion or acid reflux). Heartburn is caused by the hormonal and physical changes that happen in your body during pregnancy, the growing baby pressing on your baby, and the muscles between your stomach and gullet relaxing , allowing stomach acid to pass back up


The association between heartburn being linked to a baby having lots of hair has developed due to the fact that the female hormone oestrogen produced in pregnancy causes the soft muscle of the gullet to relax leading to heartburn but that also this same hormone causes hair growth in the developing baby so the theory is that the more oestrogen the worse heartburn & the more hair !!


Management of heartburn in pregnancy


It’s often simply a case of trial and error to find out which foods affect you most – and then avoiding them.


Eating small meals often, rather than large meals that are hours apart, will prevent your stomach from becoming too full and pushing up under your diaphragm.


Try to eat your main meal of the day at lunchtime. Eat your evening meal early in the evening, so your body has time to digest it before you go to bed.


Avoid spicy, rich, fatty and fried foods , and anything else that triggers your symptoms. Sugar, tea and coffee may also make your heartburn worse.


Some women find that foods containing garlic make their heartburn worse. However, for others, eating a clove or two of raw garlic every day, or using whole cloves in cooking, can actually help. Or you could take a garlic capsule to relieve the intensity of your symptoms. Garlic capsules should be rich in allicin to be effective. Ask your midwife before taking any supplements in pregnancy


If you’re taking iron tablets that make your heartburn worse, talk to your midwife or doctor about changing to a liquid supplement instead.


Drink water between meals rather than with a meal. Drinking while you eat dilutes your digestive juices, meaning they don’t work as well to break down food.


Try to cut down on meat and fizzy drinks, if you have them often. Both can cause heartburn. A little lean meat is healthy during pregnancy, but fizzy drinks have no nutritional value.


Try to stay sitting upright after eating, as lying down may cause you to bring up a little food. Raising the head of your bed in late pregnancy may help.


Heartburn may also be worse if you smoke 




Try adding four drops of lemon, orange or neroli (orange blossom) essential oils to a teaspoonful of grapeseed base oil. Massage this into your chest and upper back, or put the blend in your bath so you can inhale the vapours.




Herbal remedies


Check with your midwife before using herbal teas as a regular remedy. Peppermint tea may help your digestion. But don’t drink other teas that are reputed to aid digestion, such as fennel. Fennel contains chemicals that may make your womb (uterus) contract.


Ginger, camomile and dandelion herbal tea may help to relieve heartburn, with the following precautions:


            If you’ve had any bleeding , it’s best to drink ginger tea in moderation, as it contains chemicals that can slow down clotting.

            If you’re taking medication for diabetes, don’t drink dandelion tea, as it can interfere with your medication.

            If you’re suffering from insomnia, drinking a lot of camomile tea may actually make it more difficult to sleep.


Take a look at our Pregnancy Masterclass held monthly in Boldmere called  where we discuss all the minor irritations in pregnancy and when to seek help plus get a free 40 + page ebook.  Held Tuesday evenings 6.30-8.30pm.