It's a cruel trick that some of the foods that satisfy your pregnancy cravings can bring on painful bouts of heartburn. What you eat isn't the only reason for your indigestion, however. Pregnancy hormones contribute to heartburn, says the March of Dimes, especially during the second and third trimesters. A few simple tricks should ease your discomfort.
Your ankles may be swollen and your back achy, but resisting the urge to lie down after eating can curb heartburn pain. Holding your upper body upright while your body digests food keeps burning stomach acid from flowing up your esophagus. Walk around, do the dishes or sit up straight on the couch with pillows propped behind you. Because bending over will cause heartburn to worsen, according to the March of Dimes, skip yoga after eating and tell your partner that he's in charge of picking up the laundry basket.
Snack, Drink and Chew
While greasy, spicy foods can bring on heartburn, other foods can ease its symptoms. The American Pregnancy Association suggests eating a cup of yogurt or drinking a glass of warm milk with a spoonful of honey stirred into it when heartburn strikes. And something you already have in your purse might help too. According to a 2011 story in "The New York Times," multiple studies have found that chewing gum fights heartburn. The extra saliva you produce helps neutralize stomach acid.
Not all heartburn medications are safe for pregnant women, so talk to your doctor before taking anything. The American Academy of Family Physicians says that many over-the-counter antacids are considered safe during pregnancy. Some doctors prefer antacids that contain calcium. Your doctor may recommend that you try other types of common heartburn medications, but because some types cross the placenta to reach your baby, you'll likely be advised to try antacids first.
Once you've spent a sleepless night clutching your chest, you'll be loath to repeat the experience. Prevent frequent heartburn with a few simple steps recommended by the March of Dimes. Eat small, frequent meals every few hours consisting of foods that aren't greasy, fatty, spicy or laden with onions or garlic, and avoid chocolate. Don't assume that drinking cool liquid during a meal will prevent heartburn. Instead, limit your beverages during meals and sip liquid between snacks instead. Sleeping with your head and upper body propped up on pillows will head off nighttime discomfort.