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Archive for August, 2010

Relieving Heartburn

Well I must say it has been harder than ever to keep up to date with this blog.  Everyone always says it’s the hardest thing to do.  I had a lofty goal of once a week completing an entry which I did successfully for a while and then well….. I got busy!   No excuses though.  I thought this week I would speak about something near and dear to my heart…. heartburn.   If any of you reading this blog are experiencing prenatal heartburn you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re just reading this blog and experiencing heartburn; you to still know what I’m talking about!

Here is an article from whattoexpect.com on heartburn!  May we all be cured soon! 🙂

It’s that last stretch of pregnancy, when you can almost see the finish line — and it seems like your heartburn wants to stay with you every step of the way.  Nearly half of your expectant running mates have also been feeling your pain — probably for most of their pregnancies — and with good reason. Among the smooth muscles that are loosening and relaxing under the strict orders of your hormonal regime at 36 weeks pregnant 

is that ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When this muscle loosens, the harsh digestive juices from your tummy back up into your esophagus. The stomach acids irritate the sensitive esophageal lining (right around where your heart is, though it has nothing to do with your heart), creating that searing pain. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to put the fire out:
 
Sit up and take notice. Make sure to sit upright while eating — and stay that way for a couple of hours after you eat. Lying down, slouching, slumping, and stooping will do you in.  And when you have to bend, do it with your knees instead of at your waist (or you’ll send all that acid for a repeat ride up your esophagus). 

Chew it over.  Do your body a favor and eat slowly. Chewing is the first step in the digestive process, but the one that’s most often neglected when eating’s done on the run.  The more you chew, the less work your stomach has to do.  Another chew that’s good for you: Chewing sugarless gum will increase saliva, which can help neutralize acid in the esophagus.  And while you’re at it, leave stress off the menu — anxious eating compounds digestive distresses of all kinds, including heartburn.
 
Catch the early bird special.   Not to save money — but to save yourself heartburn.  Whether you’re eating at home or out, take your last big meal at least two hours before bedtime so your stomach can get started on digestion before you lie down for the night. (A before-bed snack is fine, so long as it’s light and easy to digest.)
 
Break it up. Better still, skip those big meals altogether — six small meals are the pregnancy solution to just about whatever ails you, from heartburn to bloating to lagging energy level, you name it.
 
Think loose and flowing. No matter how voluptuous your upper curves make you feel, if you have heartburn, now is not the time to wear anything that Pamela Anderson might favor — tight clothes just fuel the burn.
 
Don’t play with matches. Some things are sure to light your heartburn fire. Just say no to highly seasoned spicy food, caffeine (this also relaxes the esophageal valve), alcohol (which is off the menu anyway), greasy foods of all kinds, and too much citrus. (If OJ gives you trouble, water it down a bit — or buy a low acid variety.)  Peppermint turns up the burn in some women, but not all.
 
Hold your head up. Sleeping with your head elevated about six inches can keep the burn from waking you up.
 
Keep it down. Extra pounds can make heartburn extra worse. Try to stay within the 25-to-35-pound recommended weight gain.
 
Raise your hand. Ask your practitioner whether he or she has a preference for an over-the-counter antacid or whether you need prescription strength.  As you’ve probably already figured out, taking Tums or Rolaids is a great way to ban the burn while boosting your calcium intake.
 
Feel like a natural woman. If you want to avoid over-the-counter antacids, you can try the following popular folk remedies.   

  • Papaya: Make sure the papaya is very ripe; unripe papaya can cause uterine contractions. Or ask your practitioner about the safety of using chewable papaya enzymes. (You can find these in health-food stores.)
  • Almonds: Good for calcium as well as being a stomach settler.
  • A tablespoon of honey in warm milk: Yummy and relaxing. Some say all dairy helps, and others say the opposite. (At the very least you’ll get in your calcium.)

There ya go, I hope it helps.   I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night while having just visited the loo again for the 100th time to guzzle down a class of milk for some extra coating.   A friend of mine swears by gaviscon.  I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s pretty tempting to throw away all the tums and grab a bottle.

If you have any heartburn relief tips; please feel free to share!

~ Meagan

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