Why would being pregnant give me heartburn?
BY: Susan Male-Smith
You probably expected morning sickness, but pregnancy heartburn may come as a surprise. Nevertheless, “most pregnant women experience some heartburn,” says Dr. Robert Goldberg, a gastroenterologist and associate professor at University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. What’s more, if you had heartburn before you got pregnant, “invariably, it gets worse during pregnancy,” says Goldberg. Why?
Imagine your stomach is a water balloon. Squeeze the bottom and the liquid gets pushed back up. Now envision your growing baby, crowding your internal organs. The bigger the baby gets, the more pressure it puts on your stomach, which in turn pushes acidic stomach contents back up into your esophagus, resulting in heartburn.
To minimize this pressure and keep heartburn under control, avoid big meals and don’t lie down after eating. Best news? Once the baby is born, pregnancy heartburn typically disappears.
Susan Male-Smith is a registered dietitian and freelance nutrition and health writer. She has written for Family Circle, Redbook, Child and American Health, and she is a former editor of the Environmental Nutrition newsletter and co-author of Foods for Better Health. Susan is a frequent contributor to Live Right Live Well.