Got heartburn and reflux? You can thank your hormones again for that…
Acid reflux is a result of stomach acid entering the oesophagus (food pipe). This occurs during pregnancy due to changes in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles of the body. As a result, the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus is relaxed and consequently allows some gastric acid to enter the oesophagus and cause a burning sensation.
Progesterone also slows down the muscles within the stomach and this causes a reduction in the rate of digestion. Digestion therefore becomes sluggish and contributes to heartburn symptoms.
In addition, as the baby grows it pushes your intestines and stomach upwards. This can also force acid up from the stomach and into the oesophagus.
Here are some suggestions to minimise heartburn in pregnancy. Remember that different things may work at different times in your pregnancy, and different things work for different people. It is often a matter of trial and error.
- Avoid trigger foods. Some foods are like gasoline and will fire up your heartburn. Avoid spicy and greasy food and coffee.
- Eat at least 2 hours before bed. This aims to settle your stomach before lying down.
- Eat slowly. Chew, chew, chew! The more you chew, the less your stomach has to do!
- Shrink your food and drink – eat smaller and more frequent meals rather than larger ones.
- Use pillows to prop yourself up at night. Lying down worsens reflux due to gravity.
- Drink tea such as peppermint or camomile
If these standard measures don’t work:
- Try taking antacids such as Gaviscon or Mylanta. Do not take Alka Seltzer or Bicarb soda. Gaviscon and Mylanta come in both tablet and liquid form. Tablets are of course easier to carry with you, but the liquid form is more effective as it coats the stomach better.
- Try taking Zantac. Zantac neutralises stomach acid that has already been produced and works to reduce acid production in the stomach. It is a tablet you can purchase over the counter and it best taken at night.
About the Author:
Dr Grant Saffer is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist consulting at the Epworth-Freemasons in East Melbourne. Grant specialises in complicated and high-risk pregnancies and ensures his patients are always given an exception level of care. Grant keeps his patients up-to-date with relevant information about their condition which enables them to make informed decisions about their pregnancy and delivery, taking into consideration their beliefs and therapeutic preferences.
Gestational diabetes mellitus – also known as GDM, is diabetes which can occur during pregnancy. Many women who’ve been diagnosed with GDM won’t have diabetes after their baby is born, though some continue to have high levels of blood glucose and need treatment. Most women who are diagnosed with GDM have a normal pregnancy, labour and baby. It’s important that GDM is monitored and controlled, because risk factors increase when blood sugar levels remain high.
Many of us enjoy a cup of coffee or two a day and would find it difficult to give up. The good news is that even breastfeeding mothers can continue to drink coffee, or tea in moderation.
With a newborn comes many new skills to learn – one of them being how to safely wrap a baby. Wrapping (also known as swaddling) is a great strategy for parents to help their baby settle. Yet, new parents may understandably feel worried about their baby’s safety and getting it right. Read on for step-by-step guidelines on how to safely wrap a baby, plus some additional tips for safe wrapping.
One small person in a family is a very different arrangement than two, or more children. When a new baby comes into the mix, dynamics change and everyone needs to shuffle around until new positions are found.
Many parents have heard of bottle propping, also known as prop feeding. And most of us have seen babies sucking quietly away on their own.
Bottle propping is when, instead of the baby being held to drink their bottle, they are on their own. The bottle is supported by a pillow or blanket, even a soft toy so that it’s angled with the milk filling the neck of the bottle and the teat. The baby lies in their cot/pram/on the floor sucking away on their own.