Many women suffer from both heartburn (acid reflux) and indigestion during pregnancy and it tends to become more common as the pregnancy progresses. In fact, by the third trimester, nearly three-quarters of pregnant women can suffer from heartburn. We take a look at the causes and symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy and explore a few options for treating this uncomfortable condition.
Causes of heartburn in pregnancy
There are two main reasons why heartburn and, to a lesser extent, indigestion are common at this time.
- The surge in the hormone progesterone causes muscles to relax. This includes the sphincter (ring of muscle) at the entrance to the stomach. When this relaxes, stomach acids are able to travel back up into the oesophagus (food pipe) causing heartburn.
- During the latter stages of pregnancy symptoms can also be caused by the baby physically putting pressure on the woman's digestive tract.
Symptoms of heartburn in pregnancy
The symptoms of heartburn and indigestion are similar for the majority of people. Although usually harmless to you and your baby, it can be painful and leave you feeling uncomfortable. There are some simple steps you can take if you are pregnant and suffering from heartburn or indigestion.
- eating a healthy diet
sitting and/or sleeping in a more upright position
You can also talk to your health practitioner as there are Gaviscon products suitable for pregnant women.
Treating heartburn when pregnant
During pregnancy you will naturally be wary about taking medicines, however, you need not put up with the symptoms of heartburn or indigestion. Many products in the Gaviscon range are effective and suitable to use during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. These include Gaviscon Original, Gaviscon Double Action and Gaviscon Advance in both liquid and tablet format.
Why Gaviscon is suitable for pregnancy
One of Gaviscon’s key ingredients is an alginate. This works with the body by forming a protective barrier on top of the stomach contents. The physical barrier helps prevent the acid rising into the oesophagus (food pipe) meaning that Gaviscon does not need to be absorbed into the bloodstream to provide effective relief.
Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine in pregnancy.