How to Prevent Acid Reflux During Pregnancy



Eat smaller meals more frequently.,
Take your time and chew your food well.,
Chew gum after meals.,
Drink a small glass of milk after a meal.,
Don’t lie down right after you eat.,
Stay active during the day.,
Be conscientious of your sleeping position.,
Manage your stress.,
Avoid eating fatty foods.,
Avoid spicy and acidic foods.,
Cut out caffeinated beverages.,
Stop drinking alcohol.,
Take antacids after meals.,
Try H2 blockers.,
Consider proton pump inhibitors.

Another recommendation for combating heartburn is to eat smaller portions of food spaced out through the day. Eating smaller meals every few hours instead of three large meals many hours apart prevents your stomach from becoming too full and putting pressure under your diaphragm and pushing acid up into your esophagus.As such, switch to eating 5-6 small meals or snacks daily spaced about 2 hours apart.

Your last meal or snack of the day should be eaten early in the evening, at least 3 hours before you head to bed. This gives your stomach enough time to properly digest the food and send it on to your small intestine.
Aim for small meals or snacks that are around 300 to 400 calories each. Gaining some weight during pregnancy is necessary as you’re eating for two, but significant weight gain increases your risk of diabetes.;
, Slow down when you eat your meals or snacks and chew each mouthful thoroughly before swallowing because it promotes better digestion.Conversely, eating too quickly and not chewing properly reduces the amount of saliva release into your mouth and causes your stomach to work harder, which increases the likelihood of indigestion and heartburn. Eating slowly also tends to prevent over-eating because you feel full quicker.

Take small bites and chew each mouthful of food for between 20-30 seconds so that there’s lots of saliva in your mouth before swallowing.
Chewing your food well reduces the need to drink lots of liquids with meals in order to “flush the food down.” Drinking more than a few ounces of liquid with meals can dilute digestive enzymes and promote indigestion.

, Chewing gum can help provide relief from heartburn because it stimulates the production of saliva, which contains acid-neutralizing bicarbonate.Swallowing more saliva can literally “put the fire out” because it neutralizes the stomach acid that’s gotten into the esophagus. In this sense, saliva is your body’s natural antacid.

Avoid minty and menthol-flavored gum, such as peppermint, because they can actually stimulate your stomach’s production of digestive juice.
Choose sugar-free gum with xylitol because the artificial sweetener can kill cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth and ulcer-causing bacteria in your stomach.
Wait about 15-30 minutes after meals before chewing on gum because food needs an acidic environment to be properly digested and broken down.

, Your stomach needs to be very acidic in order to properly digest food, but the problems start when too much acid is produced or if the acid gets past the esophageal sphincter to irritate the esophagus. As such, wait about an hour or so after a meal before drinking a small glass of milk. The minerals in milk (mainly calcium) can neutralize any acid in your esophagus and help to soothe any irritation.

Use low-fat milk so that the animal-based fat doesn’t make the acid reflux worse.
Sometimes the sugar (lactose) in milk and other dairy products can trigger heartburn, so experiment with the milk drinking, but stop it if it creates more problems.
Don’t drink milk after meals if you are lactose intolerant (don’t produce enough lactase enzyme) because the symptoms of bloating and cramps can make your acid reflux worse., While eating food it’s best to sit up straight, but resist the urge to lie down after you finish your meal.Keeping upright works with gravity and promotes the travel of digested food down through your gastrointestinal system. Lying on a couch cancels out the effect of gravity and allows partially digested food and stomach acid to leak through the esophageal sphincter and into the esophagus.

It’s the irritation of the lining of the esophagus that causes the burning feeling in your chest — aka heartburn. Other symptoms of acid reflux include: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, dry cough and hoarseness.Wait for at least a few hours before lying down on a couch / bed. You can sit down and put your feet up to rest, but make sure your upper body is erect.
Avoid eating big meals to reduce your tiredness (and desire to lie down) due to the sudden secretion of lots of insulin hormone into your bloodstream from your pancreas.

, Moderate-to-heavy exercise immediately after a meal greatly increases your risk of indigestion and heartburn, but mild exercise (walking) can help promote intestinal motility — push undigested food and waste material through your intestines so nothing gets backed up.After you finish cleaning up the dishes, go for a 15-20 minute gentle walk or do some light chores around the house.

Too much exercise diverts blood away from your gastrointestinal system and into muscles of your legs and arms, which compromises digestion.
Focus on doing more exercise during the day instead of at night so that it doesn’t affect your sleep.
Mild exercise promotes regular bowel movements, which prevents a “log jam” in your intestines and a build up of pressure from gas.

, If you’re suffering from a bout of acid reflux while pregnant (or any other time), be conscious of your body position while in bed at night. To combat heartburn, try elevating your upper body and head with pillows, which will put gravity to work — although pillows may not always be effective because they’re too soft.If this isn’t comfortable, then lie on your left side, which makes it more difficult for stomach acid to reflux into your esophagus.Foam wedges meant to prop up your upper body in bed are available at some pharmacies and most medical supply stores.
Avoid lying on your side while your upper body is propped up by pillow or a wedge because you can irritate your upper spine (mid back) and ribs.

, Stress and anxiety often causes more acid to be produced in your stomach and less blood to circulate around your intestines for food absorption, which are factors that can aggravate acid reflux. As such, try to manage your stress with relaxation therapies, such as deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, yoga or tai chi.A variety of techniques to reduce stress and anxiety can reduce the signs and symptoms of acid reflux / heartburn.
Practice relaxation techniques after you come home from work / school, but before eating any food. These techniques can also be done just before bedtime in order to promote better sleeps.

, Fried and fatty foods tend to trigger heartburn or acid reflux because they take longer to digest, require more stomach acid and make it easier for the acid to slosh back up into your esophagus.As such, choose leaner cuts of meat and poultry, consume low-fat dairy products and bake more items instead of frying them.

Foods to avoid include: French fries, most fast food items, potato chips, bacon, sausages, gravy, regular ice cream and milkshakes.
Some fat is needed for your baby to develop normally, so focus more on avocados, coconut products and nuts / seeds that have healthier fatty acids.

, Another group of foods to avoid are spicy and acidic types, because they can irritate your esophagus on the way down, then trigger acid reflux once they hit the stomach.As such, avoid hot sauces, cayenne pepper, jalapeños, salsas, tomato sauce, onions, garlic and peppercorns.

Despite their delicious flavors and health benefits, Mexican and Thai cuisine should be avoided if you’re experiencing a bout of acid reflux.
Be careful with acidic citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits. Stick to fresh-squeezed varieties and don’t drink them on an empty stomach to avoid heartburn.

, Caffeine is a known trigger of acid reflux (it stimulates stomach acid production), but almost all beverages that contain caffeine are also acidic, so it’s another double whammy situation for heartburn.As such, limit or avoid coffee, black tea, hot chocolate, colas, most other sodas and all energy drinks.

Colas and sodas may actually be a “quadruple whammy” for heartburn because they are acidic, caffeinated, sugary and carbonated. The bubbles expand your stomach and make it more likely acid is pushed past the esophageal sphincter.
You should also avoid caffeinated beverages because the caffeine can decrease your blood flow and limit the nutrition your baby gets.

, Alcohol is a common cause of heartburn due to its acidity and relaxing effect on the esophageal sphincter, but pregnant women should also avoid it completely due to the negative effects on their baby — it could lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.Alcohol is not safe in any amount or at any time during pregnancy, so cut it out of your lifestyle immediately.

All types of alcohol are equally harmful to your baby, including all types of wines and beer.
If you still want to go out to lounges and bars with your friends and family, switch to virgin cocktails, grape juice or non-alcoholic beers instead.

, Antacids are the safest heartburn medicine for pregnant women primarily because they are not absorbed into the bloodstream, meaning that they only travel to your gastrointestinal system and don’t get directed towards the growing baby.Common antacids that can provide quick heartburn relief include: Maalox, Mylanta, Gelusil, Gaviscon, Rolaids and Tums. Take them about 30-60 minutes after a meal or snack.

Antacids don’t heal an inflamed esophagus damaged by digestive acid, so use them for symptomatic relief only.
Some antacids are combined with compounds called alginates, which work by forming a foam barrier in your stomach to prevent acid reflux.
Overuse of antacids can trigger diarrhea or constipation, so be cautious and don’t take them more than 3 times per day.

, Over-the-counter (OTC) medications that reduce acid production are called histamine-2 (H2) receptor blockers and include: cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC), nizatidine (Axid AR) and ranitidine (Zantac).In general, H2 blockers don’t act as quickly as antacids do for heartburn, but they typically provide longer relief and can decrease stomach acid production for up to 12 hours.

OTC H2 blockers are considered safe for pregnant women, although the drugs do get absorbed into the bloodstream and impact the baby in some capacity.
Stronger versions are available via prescription, but talk to your doctor about the pros and cons if you’re pregnant — there is a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

, Other medications that block acid production are called proton pump inhibitors, but they also are able to heal the tissue membranes of the esophagus.Proton pump inhibitors are more effective blockers of stomach acid compared to H2 blockers and allow time for an inflamed esophagus to heal.

OTC proton pump inhibitors include: lansoprazole (Prevacid 24 HR) and omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid OTC).
Taking proton pump inhibitors right before a meal will still allow for some stomach acid to digest your food, but it will prevent over-production.

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