Heartburn and Indigestion can be debilitating and are most definitely not one of the 'welcomed' experiences of pregnancy.
Heartburn and indigestion are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different conditions.
- Indigestion is a general term that speaks to a wide range of digestive issues.
- Heartburn occurs when stomach acid escapes into your oesophagus and is a type of indigestion.
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a painful condition that is caused when stomach acid flows up into your oesophagus.
The lining of your oesophagus simply doesn't have the same protective layers that allow your stomach to stand up to powerful digestive acids. So when acid flows up into your oesophagus, (a process called Acid Reflux), it causes a nagging pain in your chest, and possibly even your throat, called heartburn.
Heartburn can last from a few minutes to several hours, and often feels worse after you eat.
What Is Indigestion?
You might call it an upset stomach, a stomach ache, or even a belly ache - but the medical term is dyspepsia. Whichever term you use, indigestion is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, feeling you get in your stomach, usually during or after eating and depending on what is causing your indigestions, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating (full feeling), belching and gas, nausea, vomiting, and acidic taste in your mouth, "growling" stomach, and even diarrhea.
In most cases, indigestion is caused by eating too much, too fast, or by eating foods that your body doesn't respond well to - typically foods high in fat. Chewing with your mouth open also can lead to indigestion. Swallowing too much air while eating can cause belching and bloating, which is another variation of indigestion.
Other indigestion triggers include stress, smoking, or drinking caffeinated, carbonated, or alcoholic drinks.
Eat small meals frequently throughout the day.
Chew your food slowly.
Drink at least 1 cup (or more) of coconut water or water (you can add lemon) every hour.
Do not lie down after eating a meal.
Eat dinner at least 2 hours before going to bed and avoid eating late at night.
Eat a few spoonfuls of Yogurt after a meal.
Wear loose fitting clothes around the waist.
Avoid laying down/sleeping totally flat. (Prop yourself up with your head always above your heart).
Drink chamomile, peppermint, fennel or ginger tea. (An option to combine the teas together to make a delicious iced tea).
Suck on peppermint or lemon lozenges.
Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water and drink an hour before meals.
Suck on a slippery elm lozenges after meals.
Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir.
Drinking fresh celery juice with half an apple on an empty stomach to start day (apples are known to be a great snack to help ease symptoms).
Try to avoid chocolate, coffee, soda, tomatoes, citrus fruits, spicy, rich, fried and greasy foods.
It is important that if your symptoms persist or start to worsen, consult with your LMC or GP about
the appropriate support you can receive during your pregnancy.