A lot of women find heartburn a problem during pregnancy. As this can contribute to nausea, particularly later in pregnancy once the worst of the HG is usually gone, we thought it was worth a mention on the Blooming Awful web site. Obviously if you're struggling to eat/drink you may not find the food-based suggestions very helpful, but hopefully there's something for everyone here.
Causes of heartburn
It seems there is more than one cause for heartburn: some is caused by too much acid, whereas some is caused by too little acid being produced, therefore the body over compensates in an attempt to balance it. This is also what can happen when you take an antacid, which is why some people report having worse heartburn after taking things like Gaviscon. Because of this you may need to experiment to see which kind of heartburn remedies work for you.
General rules (you probably know these already)
- Eat small amounts so your stomach doesn't become over full and press upwards.
- Eat slowly and chew food properly before swallowing.
- Avoid spicy or fried foods, especially later in the day.
- Walk after meals - don't lay down.
- Try to keep food and drink separate, but sip a large glass of water when you feel symptoms coming on.
- Milk and milk products can help some people.
- If you aren't already, avoid caffeine and cigarettes - these cause irritation and increase production of acid.
- Gaviscon. This is often prescribed by midwives/doctors in the UK but is also available over the counter. It's a liquid which comes in peppermint and aniseed (original) flavours. Note that if you are using homeopathy, you mustn't use the peppermint one.
- Citrus/vinegar. A couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in water can help. Also anything lemon flavoured or vinegar on your salad/chips!
- Get into a 'flying' position: sit cross-legged raise and lower your arms bringing the backs of your hands together over your head.
- Papaya enzymes (tablets form health food shop or buy it in fresh, dried, or juice form). Papaya can also be good for digestion and help ease nausea even without heartburn. If you cannot find these, try pineapple or apple peel.
- Comfrey tablets with pepsin.
- Grate raw potato and drink juice in sips.
- Thoroughly chew raw almonds.
- Anise and fennel tea.
- Slippery elm lozenges. You can buy powder and put it in honey if no lozenges are available.
- Halva. This is a mediterranean sweet made with sesame seeds, pistachios and honey. Sometimes available in supermarkets, often in health food stores.
- Sesame Snaps. This is a bit like peanut brittle only it's made with sesame seeds. Sometimes available alongside either sweets or biscuits in supermarkets and health food stores.
- Homeopathy. If you aren't able to get to a registered practitioner, you may find homeopathic remedies in your chemist or health food store that could help. Unlike treating HG with homeopathy, heartburn is often more responsive to over-the-counter remedies. Most shops provide a guide to their remedies that should mention heartburn. See also http://www.arnica.com/tips/tip5.html