Heartburn during pregnancy

Most pregnant women will experience heartburn for at least some portion of their pregnancy. Heartburn is very common, especially towards the end of the pregnancy, because progesterone and estrogen levels are elevated thereby allowing the relaxation of smooth muscle. This is required for an easy delivery of the fetus, but it also relaxes muscles we need to keep contracted, like the esophogeal sphincter at the top of the stomach. This ring of muscles keeps stomach juices, which are very acidic inside the stomach. When the muscles are relaxed we get heartburn, a burning or warm discomfort in the lower throat. Heartburn will always be worse laying down than sitting upright or standing because laying down allows the stomach’s acidic juices to escape more easily.

Peppermint tea is a safe and effective remedy for most cases of heartburn. Avoiding heavy, greasy, fatty and processed foods will also be helpful in relieving heartburn, as will eating smaller meals rather than large ones.

Acupressure massage of the area just before the foot divides into the 2nd and 3rd toes may also be helpful. This is the location of an acupuncture point called Neiting/Stomach 44.

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