How can I reduce or prevent heartburn?

How can I reduce or prevent heartburn?

Indigestion, or heartburn, is a burning feeling that starts in the stomach and rises into the throat.  It occurs when digested food from your stomach, which contains acid, is pushed up into your esophagus.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy slow digestion and relax the muscle that prevents digested food and acids in your stomach from entering the esophagus.  In addition, your growing uterus presses against your stomach.

To help relieve heartburn, try the following:

  • Eat five or six small meals a day.  A glass of fluid may be equal in volume to a small meal, so avoid drinking large amounts of fluids with meals.
  • Avoid foods that cause gas, such as spicy or greasy foods.
  • Do not eat or drink several hours before bedtime.
  • Wait two hours after eating before exercising.
  • Take antacids, such as Maalox, Tums, or Gaviscon.  Liquid medication will be more effective than tablets.  If the problem is frequent, and only briefly relieved by antacids, speak with your doctor or midwife.
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