Feeling heartburn or acid indigestion during pregnancy is the most common complaint during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. But for many women, heartburn goes on throughout the pregnancy time. Progesterone hormone and a couple of changes in the digestive system cause heartburn during pregnancy. Almost 50% of expectant moms have heartburn in pregnancy. A pregnant woman can control heartburn by changing their food habit and lifestyle.
Causes for heartburn during pregnancy
The main reasons for heartburn during pregnancy are –
- Changing hormone levels
- Uterus enlarging (growing baby & changing body shape)
- Esophageal sphincter relaxing
- Taking foods that trigger heartburn
Hormonal change is the primary reason among all-cause of heartburn during pregnancy. At pregnancy time women produce a huge amount of progesterone hormone (also called the pregnancy hormone). This hormone affects all digestive muscles as a muscle relaxer. That’s why foods move more slowly than expected through the digestive system, causing indigestion issues and heartburn. Though it’s a painful or itchy feeling for a mother, it’s really beneficial for her baby. Because, a slow movement of food allows more nutrients absorption into the bloodstream, which is very important to grow your baby perfectly.
Progesterone hormones also cause relaxation of the esophageal sphincter (valve in the middle of the stomach and esophagus). For this reason, it works more slowly than usual and sometimes allows partly digestive food and stomach acids backflows from the stomach to the esophagus (around 8 inches long muscular tube linking throat with the stomach and goes behind the windpipe and heart). These acids in the esophagus are the culprit and cause of heartburn during pregnancy.
In addition, with time, as your baby grows, the uterus also enlarges and creates a crowd at the abdomen. Building pressure and pushing stomach acids upward or into your esophagus. Especially in 3rd trimesters, this can also result in heartburn during pregnancy.
Few foods always trigger heartburn. Those foods should be avoided during pregnancy. Even eating a huge amount of food at a time may cause heartburn during pregnancy.
Don’t be panicked about heartburn during pregnancy. As it is very common and usual at in this period. Try to avoid self-medication during pregnancy unless they’re recommended by your doctor.