First things first – heartburn is not caused by too much stomach acid – but rather too little. Lack of stomach acid slows the digestive process down which creates all kinds of havoc. Stomach acid signals the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (which separates the stomach and esophagus) to close tightly when the body has enough acid to digest your food. When there is not enough stomach acid to digest a food, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter will not receive this signal and will not close tightly, letting acid and undigested food creep up into the esophagus leading to heartburn and indigestion – yuck.
With pregnancy, the pushing up of the stomach and slowing down of digestive system already – this increases chances of heartburn even more!
Here are the eight ways to try and battle heartburn:
1 – Up your lemon water to increase HLC stomach acid- I have always started my day with a tall glass of warm lemon water but during pregnancy with heartburn, I added more lemon, less water and shoot it down (I am not a fan of the tart taste)). I followed it with a tall glass of warm water – in fact all my water intake is room temperature to improve blood circulation and flush out toxins more efficiently, especially during pregnancy when our blood volume increases so much! However, if I am super hot – I will cool myself with cold drinks too!
2 – Apple Cider Vinegar – I am NOT a fan of ACV but I know how much it helps with so many things – including heartburn. I mix one to two teaspoons into a small glass of water and drink every five to ten minutes until the heartburn subsides and so far – it always does!
3 – Meal Switch Up – this one sounds a bit odd but I tried it when I had pregnancy heartburn and liked it so much, I kept it that way after pregnancy! After my lemon water and yoga stretches – I would complete my morning routine with this powerhouse green pregnancy smoothie and a protein snack like my favorite Gluten Free Protein Blueberry Muffin. I usually sneaked in one more protein snack before I make lunch my biggest meal of the day to give my already taxed digestive system a break later in the day when I was absolutely exhausted! My family will usually eat a lot more for dinner but I cut my portions way down and added in a few more protein snacks in afternoon to spread it all out. I followed it with an evening walk with my family to keep things moving too!
4 – Grapefruit – Ever since I tried this with pregnancy heartburn, I kept it and have switched in my evening snack to be grapefruit! I even sneak in half after my lunch too! However, I always make sure to eat one after dinner. Like lemon – many might be confused thinking it is an acidic food BUT it stimulates bile production in a powerful way. Once grapefruit is digested, it becomes alkaline. High alkaline foods are good for digestion, flatulence, and bloating.
5 – Aloe Vera Gel (can buy at any healthy food store) – I applied it topically on chest, throat, and abdomen. Aloe vera successfully treats inflammation, reducing acid reflux symptoms and heartburn during pregnancy.
6 – Chew Sugar-free Gum – Chew for 30 minutes after a meal. The chewing stimulates salivary glands and can help wash away and clear any acid build up.
7 – Ginger Root Tea – Helps to ease effects of heartburn. Sip about 30 minutes before a meal to help calm your belly and act as an acid buffer.
8 – Almonds – They help to neutralize juices in your belly.
And one more tip – WATER WATER WATER! Drink as much as you can, add in some coconut water for electrolytes too! Sip it between meals rather than large quantities to catch up.
So, give these eight tips a try!
Lindsay Gibson, Edit
Beautiful Births & Beyond