Heartburn Advice for Pregnant Women

March of Dimes offers guidance for expectant moms with indigestion

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THURSDAY, Sept. 4, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Pregnant and nursing women can take several steps to prevent and treat heartburn, says the March of Dimes.

"Heartburn and indigestion often occur during pregnancy because hormone changes allow reflux of stomach acids back into the esophagus," March of Dimes medical director Dr. Nancy Green says in a news release.

"These stomach acids can irritate the sensitive esophageal lining, causing a burning sensation right around the heart (in the chest or under the breastbone). Late in pregnancy, the problem can be compounded by the increasing size of the uterus as it presses against the stomach," Green says.

Here are some tips if you want to avoid heartburn:

  • Refrain from eating spicy, rich, fatty or fried foods.
  • Chew slowly, and eat smaller meals more often.
  • Allow two to three hours for digestion before lying down or going to bed.
  • Sleep with your head slightly elevated.

If you do experience heartburn, Green says taking an antacid made from calcium carbonate can help.

"Pregnant women are common sufferers of heartburn and taking a calcium carbonate antacid can not only relieves heartburn but can serve a dual purpose as a calcium supplement and help supply much-needed calcium," Green says. "Calcium carbonate is the same form of the mineral found in many calcium supplements and can help expectant mothers maintain strong bones, as part of a healthy diet of food containing calcium."

More information

Here's where you can learn more about heartburn.

SOURCE: March of Dimes, news release, August 2003

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