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Health & Advice

Heartburn in Pregnancy: what is it and what causes it?

How common is this problem, why are you suddenly experiencing symptoms and how can you get rid of them?

This is Gaviscon’s guide to understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of a common side-effect of pregnancy.

Why is heartburn during pregnancy a common problem?

You may experience heartburn or indigestion at some point during your pregnancy. Heartburn, also referred to as acid reflux tends to become more likely as your pregnancy develops. 

If you’re suffering with symptoms of heartburn, such as a burning sensation behind your rib cage at the top of your chest, how can you tell what’s causing your discomfort?

The two most common causes of heartburn during pregnancy are:

Progesterone surge - The surge in the hormone progesterone causes your muscles to relax. This includes the sphincter (ring of muscle) at the entrance to your stomach). When this relaxes, stomach acids can travel back up into your oesophagus (food pipe) to cause heartburn.

Pressure from baby - During the latter stages of your pregnancy, symptoms can also be caused by the baby physically putting pressure on your digestive tract.


What are the symptoms of heartburn in pregnancy?

How you can tell if you’re suffering from heartburn and how can you ease your pain?

For most pregnant women, the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion are similar:

  • A burning sensation in your chest or throat after eating
  • A hot sour or salty tasting fluid in the back of your throat
  • Pressure behind the breastbone
  • Feeling bloated
  • Needing to burp
  • Feeling sick

How can you ease your symptoms?

Two simple lifestyle changes - Although usually harmless to you and your baby, heartburn can be painful and uncomfortable. There are two things worth trying straight away:

  • Adopting a healthy diet
  • Sitting and sleeping in a more upright position

Ask your doctor about Gaviscon - Many Gaviscon products are suitable for use during pregnancy and can help ease the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion that often comes with it.

How can I treat heartburn in pregnancy?

What medicines are suitable to take for you and your baby?

During pregnancy, you’ll naturally be wary about taking medicines. However, you don’t need to put up with the symptoms of heartburn or indigestion as there are suitable remedies available. Gaviscon Advance and its extra Strength Formula is suitable for pregnancy.


Gaviscon Advance – The Gaviscon range provides effective pregnancy heartburn relief and is suitable while you’re breastfeeding.

  • Liquid or tablet? - Gaviscon Advance is available in both liquid and tablet form.
  • Contains alginate - This works with your body by forming a protective barrier on top of the stomach contents. The physical barrier helps prevent the acid from rising into your food pipe. This means Gaviscon remedies do not need to be absorbed into your bloodstream to provide effective relief. 


Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine in pregnancy.

Gaviscon Advance Peppermint Oral Suspension. For Heartburn and Indigestion. Always read the label.

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