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Beating Pregnancy Heartburn

There are many old wives tales about pregnancy heartburn. Some people say that when you have really bad pregnancy heartburn, it means your baby will be born with a full head of hair. Or, in some tales, heartburn means that the baby is a boy or will wind up being a trouble-maker.

However, youíll probably be surprised by the number of things that can cause pregnancy heartburn. Essentially, this condition is caused by hormone changes and the flow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. It becomes worse as you get further along in your pregnancy and the baby starts putting weight on the stomach that doesnít allow it to digest food properly. While some foods might make this worse, such as with non-pregnancy related heartburn, youíll likely still experience it, even when youíve had nothing to eat for hours.

Pregnancy Heartburn Prevention

Eating many small meals throughout the day can help to prevent pregnancy heartburn because youíll keep the stomach acids busy digesting food. This strategy will work even better if you eat a lot of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, rice and potatoes. These foods will also give you some much needed energy during those months of pregnancy fatigue.

You should also avoid foods that cause a rise in stomach acid, including spicy foods, citrus fruits, and chocolate. Caffeine is also a friend of pregnancy heartburn and isnít good for you or your baby anyways Ė cut it out whenever possible. Also, if something that normally wouldnít cause heartburn gives you pregnancy heartburn every time you eat it, stay away from it. Even cravings arenít good for you sometimes.

Finally, try not to eat right before you go to bed, as this is one of the leading causes of heartburn. All that food and stomach acid just sits in your stomach and sleeping on your side doesnít allow it to digest naturally. You should also avoid drinking large amounts of fluid when you eat meals.

Pregnancy Heartburn Treatment

Fortunately, although you canít avoid it altogether, there are several ways you can make yourself more comfortable when you get pregnancy heartburn. Lying down on your right side helps empty the stomach, as does propping yourself up on pillows while sleeping. You might try sleeping in a recliner on your right side. Alternatively, you could place some concrete blocks under the legs at the top of your bed to prop you up naturally while you sleep. Wearing clothes that are loose around the waist can also help the stomach empty naturally by gravity.

One way to beat pregnancy heartburn is by taking a calcium antacid tablet. This is completely harmless for the baby and provides much needed calcium to your body. However, this works best for mild pregnancy heartburn. If problems persist, donít up your dosage beyond what it says on the bottle Ė after a certain number, additional tablets donít do anything for you at all. Call your doctor if you think you need better medication. Never take anything other than a calcium-based antacid while pregnant without speaking to your doctor first.

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