Heartburn During Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms and Preventive Measures

6 min read

Written by Smita Srivastava

Smita Srivastava

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn is a burning sensation that travels from the chest to the throat. If you are suffering from heartburn, you may frequently experience a bitter or sour taste at the back of your throat. This is commonly referred to as acid reflux. Heartburn during pregnancy is one of the most common symptoms. It can occur as early as the first trimester and last until the end of the pregnancy. It leads to a lot of discomfort and loss of sleep in pregnant women.

During pregnancy, due to changes in progesterone levels, the valve between the food pipe and the stomach gets relaxed. This condition leads to the upward movement of the acids causing heartburn. To prevent this, it is important to know the common triggers to keep the acids under control.

In This Article

How Common is Heartburn During Pregnancy?

Heartburn is a common condition in pregnant women that often starts by the end of the first trimester. It continues well through the second and third trimesters and is caused by hormonal fluctuations.

More than half of all pregnant women experience heartburn due to hormonal fluctuations and the pressure of the growing baby pressing against their stomach. It is even more common in women who have previously been pregnant and in women who have had heartburn before pregnancy.

Top 3 Causes of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Causes of Heartburn During PregnancyHeartburn or acid reflux is very common in pregnant women, and its severity tends to intensify as the pregnancy progresses. It is not dangerous, but it may lead to significant uneasiness and sleep loss. Here are some common causes of heartburn among the pregnant women

1. Relaxed Valves in The Digestive Tract

The food we eat passes through the digestive tract which has a valve called Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), which opens to allow the food to enter the stomach and closes to avoid acids traveling back up in the food pipe.

Progesterone (pregnancy hormone) relaxes this valve which leads to the acid flowing up in the food pipe area causing heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

2. Enlarged Uterus

As the baby in the womb grows to a full size during the third trimester of the pregnancy, the growing uterus pushes all the organs upwards, contracting the stomach, which lets the acids flow up into the food pipe causing a burning sensation known as heartburn.

3. Slow Digestion Due to Fluctuating Hormones

During pregnancy, due to fluctuations of the hormone called progesterone, the digestive process is slowed down, which keeps the food in the stomach area undigested for a longer time causing heartburn when the valve relaxes.

Signs and Symptoms of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Symptoms of Heartburn During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman may experience a variety of symptoms as a result of the drastic changes in the hormones that occur during pregnancy. Heartburn is also associated with a few symptoms.

The symptoms mentioned below can assist you in understanding heartburn during pregnancy.

  • Burning sensation in the throat and chest
  • Feeling heavy or full, bloating
  • Frequent burping or belching
  • Nausea and vomiting sensation
  • Feeling sick and tired
  • Regurgitation or reflux

[Read : Home Remedies For Gas And Bloating During Pregnancy]

Treatment Options For Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn causes severe discomfort, which a pregnant woman may find more difficult to manage. Seeking treatment may prove beneficial. It can be relieved with a variety of over-the-counter medications. However, since pregnancy is a delicate time, even the usual medicines that one takes during regular times, may not be advisable to take now.

Therefore, it is always best to consult your doctor, who may prescribe medication after assessing your symptoms and other factors. These medicines regulate acid production and are safe to take while pregnant. But it is advisable only to take medicines prescribed by your doctor.

Preventive Measures For Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms, it is important to know how to prevent it, so as to be able to enjoy one’s pregnancy.

There are many ways of managing and treating it by making certain dietary and lifestyle-related changes like

  • Avoid drinking a lot of water on a full stomach
  • Avoid drinking soda or carbonated drinks
  • Reduce the caffeine intake and avoid chocolates or peppermints
  • Eat slowly to chew through the food and take multiple meals frequently during the day instead of three big meals
  • Posture also plays a vital role, so it is important to sit up straight while eating food
  • Avoid fried, fatty, spicy, and acidic foods that irritate your gut
  • Eat a few hours before going to bed and taking a 10-minute walk after every meal helps digestion
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing to enhance the blood flow through the body

[Read : Soft And Fizzy Drinks In Pregnancy]

Home Remedies For Heartburn During Pregnancy

pregnant women drinking water

There are certain home remedies that can help relieve heartburn but not every remedy is advisable during pregnancy.

Since pregnancy is among the most delicate phases that directly impact both the mother and the baby, it is always best to seek advice from your medical professional before trying out any of these home remedies.

A few home remedies that might help relieve heartburn symptoms are

  • Drinking cold milk helps. For some pregnant women, warm milk with little honey also works
  • Chewing on some fennel seeds or saunf after meals
  • Drinking water throughout the day helps. Just avoid drinking it on a full stomach
  • Consuming probiotics like curd
  • Chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after every meal
  • Avoiding spices like garlic, garam masala, chilies, etc.
  • Chewing on a small piece of ginger(approximately 1 gram). You can also boil it in some water and consume it. Just avoid consuming too much of it.

[Read : Natural Remedies For Heartburn During Pregnancy]

When Should You Consider Seeing a Doctor?

Though heartburn is common (especially in the third trimester), it is worth consulting a doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn continues for more than two weeks
  • Trouble swallowing food or liquids
  • Spitting up blood
  • Losing rather than putting on weight
  • Frequent stomach aches
  • Black colored stool

Heartburn is a common issue that can be very uncomfortable and exhausting for women during pregnancy. Hormonal changes in pregnancy and the increasing size of the baby pressing up against the stomach are the main causes of it.  It may affect some people more than others but there is no way of escaping it. However, this can be managed to an extent by making a few modifications to our diet and lifestyle. After all, pregnancy is a beautiful time for any woman and an issue like heartburn should not stop one from enjoying it. So follow these tips and keep heartburn at bay.


1. How Can I Stop Heartburn at Night During Pregnancy?

There are a few ways to relieve nighttime heartburn during pregnancy. Avoiding a large meal right before going to bed. Walk for at least 10-30 minutes after meals. Drinking milk and consuming curd can help. Lay down with your head elevated while sleeping. Drink warm herbal tea or warm water for instant relief.

2. When Does Heartburn Start With Pregnancy?

Heartburn is one of the common symptoms a pregnant woman starts experiencing during the first and the second trimester, and it may worsen during the third trimester for some.

3. Will Water Help Heartburn During Pregnancy?

Water also helps to relieve heartburn by diluting the stomach acids, only if consumed in moderation. When taken in excess, it can worsen the intensity of the heartburn.

4. What Foods Cause Heartburn During Pregnancy?

Foods that are believed to cause heartburn are

  • Fried, greasy, and oily food
  • Processed, baked, spicy food
  • Chocolate, mint
  • Sodas, carbonated and caffeinated beverages
  • Garlic, avocados, citrus fruits
  • Cheese and nuts

Read Also: Morning Sickness During Pregnancy – Causes, Prevention, Medications

Smita Srivastava, Bachelors (BA) in Mass Media and Mass Communication from Delhi University
Masters (MA) in Mass Media and Mass Communication from Kurukshetra University

With a background in Mass media and journalism, Smita comes with rich and vast experience in content creation, curation, and editing. As a mom of a baby girl, she is an excellent candidate for writing and editing parenting and pregnancy content. The content she writes and edits is influenced by her own journey through pregnancy and motherhood. When not writing- She can be found curled up with a book. Or, bingeing on Netflix.Read more.

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