Tips for Relieving Reflux Symptoms During Pregnancy
Nearly 50 percent of pregnant women experience symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Pregnant women are more inclined to experience severe symptoms of acid reflux for two major reasons:
- Fluctuations in their levels of estrogen and progesterone lead to reduced lower esophageal sphincter pressure which stimulates acid reflux.
- The developing fetus causes increased pressure on the intra-abdominals which escalates the progress of acid reflux.
For most pregnant women the treatment of acid reflux during pregnancy is simple. However, if the symptoms last long after the birth of your child, Dr. John Bagnato may suggest a surgical approach like Nissen Fundoplication for treatment.
For the most part, simple lifestyle changes can help prevent factors that promote acid reflux during pregnancy.
Here are a few tips to help relieve acid reflux symptoms during pregnancy:
- It’s hard to avoid fatigue during pregnancy, but laying down flat to take frequent naps increases your chances of stomach contents refluxing into your esophagus. This can be easily fixed by elevating your head while you are lying in bed. By elevating your head with a pillow you can help reduce episodes associated with acid reflux. If you do experience reflux in this position, it is likely to be shorter and less intense.
- If you mainly experience acid reflux during the night, try sleeping on your left side as opposed to your right while in bed. Lying on your left side may help reduce acid reflux episodes associated with decreased esophageal sphincter pressure.
- Dietary habits often incite acid reflux. So if your symptoms tend to occur after you eat meals, try chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour once you’ve finished eating. Chewing gum helps to increase saliva production and the frequency at which you swallow, so you’re able to clear away refluxed acid in your esophagus more easily.
- Additional dietary habits that may increase reflux are the types and amounts of food you eat in one sitting. Try eating more frequent, smaller healthy meals to help increase stomach contractions and keep your digestive system working. As your stomach contracts and empties, you may find a decrease in the occurrence of your reflux.
- Certain food items such as chocolate and peppermints are known to decrease lower esophageal sphincter pressure, so it may be a good idea to avoid them during your pregnancy.
You don’t need to spend nine months bothered by heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. If these symptoms are new to you, then talk with Dr. Bagnato about remedies that you can try to stop the discomfort.