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> Heartburn in Pregnancy

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Heartburn in Pregnancy

Heartburn affects most women at some stage in their pregnancy. Whilst the condition does not affect your baby, it can be most uncomfortable.

Why does heartburn affect pregnant women?

Two main reasons:

  • Relaxed stomach valve: the hormone progesterone is produced during pregnancy in a larger quantity than usual. This has a relaxing effect on the sphincter, at the top of the stomach, allowing acid to pass up into the oesophagus

  • Lack of space in the abdomen. As the baby grows and the womb expands, the stomach gets compressed and its acidic contents are squeezed into the oesophagus. The acidic nature of the gastric juices can cause a burning sensation.

  • How to help yourself?

  • Sleep propped up - using a ‘V’ support pillow or elevating the head of the bed, to prop yourself up at night, can prevent the effects of gravity allowing the acid to flow back from the stomach and into the oesophagus.

  • Eat little and often - as the stomach is compressed by your baby, large meals will tend to provoke acid reflux and heartburn. Eating small amounts at regular intervals should help reduce this. It is important to eat enough to provide the vitamins and minerals required by yourself and your baby. The number of calories required by the baby increases in the last few weeks before birth, as most weight is gained then.

  • Posture - take care when bending down. Try to avoid bending forwards from the hip, bend the knees to pick things up. In the early stages of pregnancy when activities are less restricted, avoid tasks which involve a lot of leaning over, such as gardening.

  • Antacids in Pregnancy - these are an effective way of relieving occasional heartburn. It is preferable to discuss with your doctor or midwife whether taking medicines would be suitable for you. It is important to remember that advice should always be sought before taking any medicines in the first three months of your pregnancy, from your doctor or pharmacist.

Altacite Plus is suitable for use in pregnancy as the active ingredients are generally not absorbed into the blood stream. It as available from your pharmacy without a prescription. It is a liquid antacid, easy to swallow and fast acting. Liquids generally act faster than tablets.



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