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Heartburn

Heartburn is the word used to describe a sensation of burning in the lower part of the esophagus. Although it has nothing to do with the heart, heartburn can sometimes mimic heart pain. It is caused by the reflux of stomach contents mixed with stomach acid back into the esophagus causing a chemical burn. Heartburn can occur with increased frequency during pregnancy due to changes in hormonal levels that can cause relaxation of the muscles that control the opening between the esophagus and stomach, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). Also, as the fetus grows and exerts pressure on the stomach, this can cause the stomach contents to reflux back into the esophagus more readily.

Below are some tips to help you reduce heartburn by making changes in your diet. It is important to report heartburn that is not alleviated by dietary manipulation and affects your ability to eat to your physician immediately. Low food and fluid intake can jeopardize maternal and fetal health. Antacids or other medications should not be taken over the counter unless discussed specifically with your physician as some are safer than others.

Coping With Heartburn
  • Eat and drink slowly.
  • Use smaller, more frequent meals eating every 2-3 hours.
  • Eat bland foods and avoid offensive foods which can include garlic, onion, acidic fruits and vegetables, and/or spicy foods.
  • Avoid fatty or fried foods as these are slow to digest and keep food in your stomach longer. This increases your chances of heartburn.
  • Caffeine-containing foods and beverages can further relax the LES. They also contribute to dehydration and should be avoided.
  • Do not lie flat for at least 2 hours after eating.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Limit stress and situations that may increase stress.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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