Heartburn, acidity, and indigestion are common in pregnancy. As the baby grows in the womb it squashes the mother’s stomach, making her prone to even bringing up a little food.
Heartburn can be prevented by almost trial and error method. The mother-to-be should find out which food affects her and then avoid them. Eating small meals to prevent the stomach becoming too full, rather than large meals which are hours apart will prevent indigestion. Spicy, rich or deep fried foods should be avoided. Drinking water during meals dilutes the digestive juices so it takes a long time to break down food. Drink water between meals instead.
Home remedies are very effective for heartburn and acidity. Here are some natural pregnancy heartburn remedies:
- Fresh lemon and water: Lemon juice increases the production of digestive juices and bile, which helps balance low stomach acids and helps digestion.
- Coconut water: Green coconut water acts as a natural acid neutraliser and may give relief to the mother with heartburn symptoms.
- Raw apple cider vinegar: One teaspoon vinegar with approximately 250 ml of water can be sipped throughout the day and an hour before meals. The acid in the vinegar helps balance low stomach acids and aids in digestion.
- Ginger tea: Ginger should be used in moderation as it can lead to contractions if used frequently or in high doses.
- Plain water: Drink lots of water, but not all at once. Drinking a lot of water in one go increases the risk of heartburn, particularly during the later pregnancy. Consistent intake of water keeps the body hydrated which in turn reduces heartburn.
- Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds ward off heartburn. They naturally soothe the digestive tract, reduce acid and decrease inflammation. Like ginger, fennel should be used in moderation because it may lead to contractions.
- Curd or milk: Curd or even a glass of milk can provide relief from heartburn.
Red meat and fizzy drinks should be avoided as both can trigger heartburn. A little lean meat is healthy during pregnancy but fizzy drinks have no nutritional value, so best to avoid.
Heartburn may also be worse if the mother smokes. Smoking is harmful to the baby.
Light exercise and sitting upright after eating help. Sleeping propped up on two or three pillows in later pregnancy may help.