Every mother wants a healthy baby. Natural remedies for heartburn and acid reflux experienced by an expecting mother during pregnancy are, therefore, more and more common. Although it`s essential to eat fresh fruits during pregnancy, keep in mind that some of them may increase the number of episodes in which you suffer of heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy.
Gastroesophageal reflux, also known as GERD, occurs pretty frequently in children as well as adults. When this burning appear, most people run to the pharmacy to buy antacid drugs, although the best remedy can be found in nature. Moreover, herbal treatments and lifestyle changes can easily avoid these uncomfortable episodes.
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What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux?
Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the stomach`s content returns to the esophagus (the muscle tube that transports foods and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. GERD is also known as acid reflux or acid regurgitation, because the digestive juices contain acid.
The acid fluids of the stomach may damage the lining of the esophagus.
Acid reflux occurs because of the valve`s defective closure separating the stomach`s inferior esophagus. The disease is produced when relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter happens at a moment that is inappropriate (different times then when swallowing food) and then it remains open for a long period of time. Typically, the sphincter opens for a couple of seconds during swallowing. Still, some foods may lead to the relaxation of the sphincter, therefore favoring this reflux. Such types of foods include chocolate, coffee, onion and foods with a lot of sugar or fats.
Other foods, although they don`t lead to the relaxation of the sphincter, they cause esophageal burns in the esophagus that is already irritated. These foods may include tomato products, spices or citrus products. Tobacco, alcohol or particular drugs may lead to the relaxation of the sphincter as well.
Other factors that favor this reflux are:
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy – the sphincter may not open completely during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes occurred as well as the increased abdominal pressure. Heartburn, as is also known, is quite frequent while pregnant because the hormones lead to a slow digestive transit.
- Weak esophageal sphincter – If the esophageal sphincter is poorly represented, it won`t to the closure of the esophagus and this reflux will appear.
This is a rare cause of acid regurgitation with moderate manifestations, but in severely impaired persons it appears in a percentage of 25%.
- Hiatal hernia – our disease is quite common among people with hiatal hernia. The signs in these persons range widely from moderate to severe.
- Delayed digestion – If the food lasts for a long period of time in the stomach before it goes into the gut, the risk of
- Excessive nutrition – People who are used to rich meals will produce stomach filling are more prone to acid reflux because they have a relaxed inferior esophageal sphincter all the time.
If the esophagus`s gastric contents aren`t removed fast, it will irritate the esophageal lining and will lead to a heartburn, sensation of warmth or difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia. Typically, the refluxing content is quickly pushed into the stomach by esophageal contractions (peristalsis). Saliva, which consists of a natural anacid, aids in protecting the esophageal lining and neutralize the acid.
Signs & Symptoms
- Burning sensation (heartburn). Heartburn is a sensation of back pain or a general unpleasant sensation. This may occur after eating, bending forward or lying down. Antacid drugs or the ones of reducing or blocking acidity can reduce pain. Heartburn produced in the gastroesophageal reflux disease generally occurs 2 hours after having a meal. In the case of a more severe form of the illness, heartburn may last longer, for example a few hours.
- Sour or bitter taste. The reflux of the acidic stomach content might be serious enough to lead to a bitter or sour mouth taste. This may occur accompanied by heartburn, but sometimes it may represent a single manifestation.
- Excessive saliva. Acid reflux may sometimes produce excessive saliva, which may prove to be unpleasant.
If these signs happen with a frequency greater than twice per week, they may be accompanied by acid regurgitation. A lot of people occasionally describe burning or sour mouth taste, but these manifestations occurred rarely aren`t caused by our disease.
Some people don`t experience retrosternal burns. Other signs which can be attributed to acid reflux are: dysphagia, morning sickness, bad breath, retrosternal pain, sore throat or dry cough.
Other signs or complications of our medical condition include:
- This sign is more frequent in advanced cases.
- Retrosternal pain. It might be in the form of a chest discomfort. Pain may be accompanied by heartburn and can often be confused with the pain produced by myocardial infarction.
- Morning sickness, nausea.
- Specific affections of the throat, nose or ear. They include neck injuries, hoarseness, broadness, sore throat.
- Breathing disorders and lung illnesses, including frequent pneumonia, coughing, bronchiectasis, chronic asthma, wheezing.
Children with acid reflux might have a delay in their development and may experience respiratory issues.
There are a few illnesses with signs similar to acid regurgitation, including esophageal infections and peptic ulcer.
On occasion, mild signs can be ameliorated by lifestyle changes or by taking antacis medications that don`t need a recipe. If the signs appear, get in touch with a doctor.
- Very tight clothing items (corsets).
- Hiatal hernia.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Connective tissue illnesses – scleroderma.
- Fatty foods of animal origin and a few quick seasonings (pepper, hot pepper, etc)
- Particular types of drugs: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications – aspirin, ibuprofen, dopamine, anticholinergics (used when it comes to allergies), antibiotics, sedatives, tranquilizers, specific heart and low blood pressure drugs.
What Can You Take for Acid Reflux while Pregnant?
As already mentioned, the first step is to include some lifestyle changes and a healthy diet.
The first step is to eat smaller meals, more often, as it gets easier for our stomach to digest smaller amounts of food. Sprinkle food well and don`t lie in bed immediately after you ate.
The last meal of the day should be taken at 2 hours before going to bed. Overweight people need to lose a few pounds.
You should avoid chocolate, fatty foods, raw tomatoes, raw onion, beans, citrus, mint, caffeinated beverages, garlic, cabbage or smoked items. All of these types of foods reduce sphincter pressure leading to our disease. Neither drinking liquor with a straw or chewing gum is good of our stomach in the case of GERD, because you may swallow lots of air which has to be removed.
If you are confronting yourself with our illness at night, you should try to sleep with the upper body lifted. If you stretch in your bed, the effect of gravity is removed and acid reflux can reach the esophagus. Also, specialists say that GERD can be a lot more aggressive if you sleep in your right side. So, try to sit on your left side when trying sleep.
- Vegetable soups.
- Baked almonds and bananas.
- Boiled, steamed meat.
- Plain water.
- Milk and dairy product with a lot fat.
- Cooked dishes without flour or fried.
- Fried bread, pretzels, biscuits, croutons.
- Steamed, cooked or baked vegetables.
Before running to find what drugs to use for this condition, try some natural remedies. The side effects are much lower than when talking about antacids.
- Elm extract – It contains mucilages. If combined with water, mucilages protect the mouth, neck and intestines. Experts say that elm contains antioxidants that help in healing inflammatory bowel illnesses. At pharmacies, you can find capsules with elm extract. Follow the guidelines after the prospectus.
- Extract of sweet wood root – Sweet wood root cures ulcers, sore throat or bronchitis. When it comes to our medical condition, sweet wood root functions after removing glycyrrhizin.
- Quercetin – This is among the most frequent bioflavonoids. This is found in most vegetables and fruits, especially in red onion or apple peel. Sold as a dietary supplement, this is a very powerful antioxidant, natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamin.
- Glutamine – It`s an amino acid that can be found in foods rich in proteins. Glutamine is generally used by performance athletes to alleviate muscle pain. Also, this amino acid represents a great antioxidant. Glutamine has the ability to heal mucus membranes, which include mucus membranes of the esophagus, damaged by acid reflux and heartburn.
- Aloe vera – Aloe juice is a great gastric dressing and reduces stomach acidity. Three teaspoons per day are indicated before each important meal.
- Salvia – Salivary infusion disinfects and scars the esophagus. You may drink 3 cups per day after every meal.
- Chamomile – It reduces inflammations and calms the sensation of burning. You can drink 2 cups per day after eating your meal.
Talk to your doctor whether to use over-the-counter drugs or not, like Maalox or Tums, which is believed to be usually safe while pregnant. You may also find that liquid heartburn relievers are much more efficient in treating this medical condition, as they coat the esophagus.
Can You Take Antacids while Pregnant?
Most over-the-counter antacid drugs are quite safe to be taken during pregnancy. But antacids which include sodium bicarbonate might lead to fluid built up, so expecting mothers should avoid them. It`s fine to use antacids which include calcium carbonate (like Tums). This drug offers safe heartburn relief for expecting mothers. During pregnancy, the body might required anywhere around 1.000 mg and 1300 mg of elemental calcium per day, so Tums it`s a good choice because it contains calcium. However, make certain to take this drug at different times than your iron supplements.