Acid reflux is quite common during pregnancy. It is also known as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is caused when the stomach acid gets pushed up into the esophagus instead of staying in the stomach. It leads to symptoms like burning sensation in the upper chest, abdominal pain, vomiting and lot of discomfort. Some women may also feel nauseous.
During pregnancy, acid reflux is more common because during this period the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormone remain high to maintain pregnancy, which slows down the digestive system. Along with this, additional amount of pressure of the growing baby exerts pressure on the abdomen and as a result, the stomach acid makes its way into the esophagus.
Effect Of Acid Reflux On Pregnancy
Those who usually have GERD symptoms when they are not pregnant tend to have severe acid reflux during pregnancy. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that they need hospitalization. Acid reflux usually does not affect your baby. If vomiting is severe, weight loss can follow.
As weight gain is expected during pregnancy, such cases where weight loss is below the pregnancy benchmark, is often referred to gastro-enterologist. Severe acid reflux needs medical attention as it can lead to malnutrition and can be harmful for the mother and may also obstruct vital growth of the fetus.
Acid Reflux Remedies
Over-the-counter antacids can be taken by pregnant woman to decrease stomach acid. But using home remedies is the best way to deal with acid reflux.
Take few preventive steps to avoid acid reflux. Instead of three large meals, try to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day. This will enable your body to digest the food easily. Do not drink large quantities of fluid along with your food as this can encourage back flow of acid. Drink enough water.
Water will dilute stomach acid and help flush it out of the esophagus. Keep on drinking at least two glasses of water after every meal. Avoid foods like fried, spicy, acidic foods, chocolate, caffeine and carbonated beverages that triggers acid reflux. Sucking hard candies and chewing gum can encourage saliva production and help clear acid in the esophagus.
Acid reflux becomes worse usually at night since sleeping position allows acid flow into esophagus more easily. To avoid acid reflux, elevate the head of your bed by about 5-6 inches. Sleeping in semi-upright position will also help. Also eat your meal at least three hours before going to bed. Practicing prenatal yoga and light exercises like walking can also bring relief.
While antacid are safe, home remedies are a better way to counter acid reflux. Here are the most effective ones.Mix one tablespoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink. It will neutralize the acid and bring relief.For soothing the burning sensation in your esophagus take one spoon of honey.
Drinking 2-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water can prevent acid reflux attacks and help digest your meal easily.
Snacking on almonds is one of the best home remedies for preventing and counteracting acid reflux. It is suggested that chewing a handful of almond in the morning before eating any other thing and immediately after every meal can prevent acid reflux.
Eating apple after meals can be helpful in preventing acid reflux as well.Chamomile tea is another good remedy for acid reflux. It has great soothing properties that will bring relief from discomfort caused by acid reflux.