How to Prevent Heartburn

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How to Prevent Heartburn: What Can You Do?

Indigestion is commonly called heartburn, but it does not mean that anything is wrong with your heart. It is a burning feeling that starts in the stomach and seems to rise into the throat. It occurs when digested food from your stomach, which contains acid, is pushed up into your esophagus (the tube leading from the throat to the stomach.) Liquids that you drink also take up space in your stomach, so they may also add to the problem.

Changes that take place in your body during pregnancy may worsen indigestion. Changes in your hormone levels slow digestion and relax the muscle that normally prevents the digested food and acids in your stomach from entering the esophagus. In addition, your growing uterus presses up on your stomach.

To help relieve heartburn, try the following:

  • Eat five or six small meals a day instead of two or three large ones. (A glass of fluid may be equal in volume to a small meal, so avoid drinking large amounts of fluids with meals.)
  • Avoid foods that cause gas, such as spicy or greasy foods.
  • Do not eat or drink several hours before bedtime.
  • Wait two hours after eating before exercising.
  • Antacids may be helpful, such as Maalox, Tums, or Gaviscon. Liquid will be more effective than tablets. If the problem is frequent and only briefly relieved by antacids, speak with your doctor or midwife.