If you’re entering your first pregnancy, and you’ve never had heartburn before, you may be in for an unpleasant experience. Many women encounter heartburn for the first time in their lives during pregnancy.

Heartburn and pregnancy

Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus that is caused by acids produced by the stomach, and can be described as a burning sensation that that can be felt from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. Occasional heartburn is common, and not dangerous, but can feel extremely uncomfortable and causes many people who suffer from it to avoid certain foods that cause a flare up.

What causes pregnancy heartburn?

During pregnancy, progesterone is produced by the placenta, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus, allowing for necessary growth. This hormone also relaxes the valve that separates your esophagus from your stomach, allowing the acids mentions previously to seep back up, and cause this burning sensation. Peristalsis is the medical term for the wave-like contractions of your esophagus and intestines, and is also slowed by progesterone, which can slow digestion. This couple with cramped abdominal space (caused by your growing little one); can also cause these acids to back up.

Baby Center has offered a few natural remedies for heartburn, and though every body may be different, these have worked wonders for many women:

  • Eating raw almonds
  • Drinking aloe vera juice (make sure you find juice that is meant for ingestion- not topical gel!)
  • Coconut water (this is a natural acid neutralizer)
  • Add 2 tsp of fennel seeds into a cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten and drink
  • Apple cider vinegar (will signal the body to stop producing more acid)
  • Ginger (you can make tea from it; eat it candied, raw, etc).
  • Try chewable papaya enzymes (following a meal, helps the digestive system to break down food)
  • Slippery bark (a Native American remedy for heartburn; helps coat the irritated esophagus and stomach)

No one remedy will work wonders for every person, and sometimes you will have to consult your physician for a more serious anecdote to a more serious sensation.

Post-pregnancy heartburn

The heartburn will not always go away right after your pregnancy is over, and some babies even have acid reflux.To avoid or stop this condition for your child, especially for a breastfeeding baby, pay attention to what you eat (as the things you eat are passed to your baby through your breast milk). If you plan to go back to work, breast pumping may be a good option for you.

Sometimes heartburn lingers on for moms, or is triggered again by certain foods. Remember to pay attention to your body and learn what causes this unpleasant sensation so as to avoid it for your comfort and the health of your child.