It is common for women to experience hyperacidity during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Also known as heartburn, acid indigestion and gastrointestinal disorder, this condition causes a burning sensation that starts at the base of the breastbone and travels to the top of the throat. Physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy cause this burning sensation, which typically occurs after meals.
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How It Develops
The placenta, which helps to provide nutrition to a growing fetus, produces the hormone progesterone to relax uterine muscles during a baby's development. Once produced, this hormone also relaxes the muscles and valves that keep the stomach separate from the esophagus. When these muscles begin to collapse, stomach acids back up into the esophagus, causing gastric juices to travel to the throat. This backup is what causes the intense burning sensation that many pregnant women experience.
Hyperacidity Throughout Pregnancy
As long as the muscles of the uterus and the stomach valves are in a relaxed state, hyperacidity will likely occur. Therefore, a woman can have intense heartburn throughout her pregnancy. Women who experience severe chest pain and discomfort may consult their obstetrician to inquire about taking antacids to ease symptoms. In mild to moderate cases, dietary changes during pregnancy can decrease the frequency and intensity of gastrointestinal discomfort.
It may not be possible to eliminate hyperacidity during pregnancy; however, pregnant women can take steps to minimize discomfort. Avoid foods that are high in caffeine, such as soda and chocolate, to reduce stomach acid. Eliminate processed meats, fatty foods and fried substances from your diets. Stay away from highly acidic foods, including citrus fruits, tomatoes and vinegar, which can drastically increase stomach acid.
To avoid heartburn symptoms, stop eating within two hours of bedtime to allow ample time for food to digest. Sleep with your head and shoulders slightly propped up to keep stomach acids from rising to the throat during sleep. Sleeping in a slightly elevated position also aids with digestion. When stomach acids remain in the stomach, foods digest quicker, which minimizes the occurrence of heartburn.