Pregnancy is an incredibly joyous time for a woman as she makes space for one of the loves of her life to come into this world. As a woman’s body grows and changes, there are also changes in her digestion. As progesterone increases, her digestive system slows down and the changes in eating along with the role of hormonal changes can lead to heartburn and acid reflux. Here are 5 ways to help prevent the onset of pain and discomfort, as well as to alleviate it:
- Become a Detective: If you are experiencing acid reflux on a regular basis, try keeping a food diary for at least 3 days. Notice any common themes or trends that occur in how you feel based on what you eat, how much you eat, and what time you eat. Try smaller, more frequent meals and remember that some of the common culprits for heartburn during pregnancy include: orange juice, tomatoes, chocolate, spicy foods, and coffee.
Create Physical Space: Yoga poses that create space in the throat and chest area can feel soothing when heartburn is present. Try sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, your back against the side of your sofa or the edge of a stable chair. Gently lift your arms up and open as you lay your head back onto a pillow and create space.
- Essential Oils: The aroma of peppermint oil has been associated with helping to alleviate heartburn, but should not be ingested. Rather, you can diffuse a few drops of peppermint oil in your room and couple that with your yoga pose to give your body an opportunity to enjoy the enhancement of aromatherapy during your yoga practice.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Try diluting a teaspoon of (pasteurized) apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drinking this once a day when there is a flare up of acid reflux.
- OTC Remedies: While many pregnant women choose not to ingest over the counter medicine during pregnancy, others find that it might be the only thing that can alleviate a bad episode of heartburn. Generally speaking, over the counter heartburn remedies are considered safe and you and your health care provider can determine when you need to take one based on your level of discomfort.
Pregnancy is unique to each woman and to each baby. Listen to your body and choose what is right for you. If you are unsure about a choice, consult your doula, midwife, and/or doctor for additional resources. Remember that there are no absolutes in pregnancy, meaning that what is right for you and your baby might look totally different from your best friend or sister, and that is OK. Trust your instincts follow the path of what feels good in your body.