7 tips to avoid pregnancy heartburn this holiday, according to a GI doctor

Lifestyle and dietary modifications can help ease the pain.

avoiding pregnancy heartburn

Even if you don't consider yourself a foodie, many people look forward to indulging in the culinary delights between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. For pregnant mamas, eating more than normal (or foods that you're not used to) can cause normal pregnancy heartburn to be heightened.

How does heartburn happen?

Most often, heartburn is related to the growing belly and the lack of space surrounding the developing baby—it happens when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus. Heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy—up to 45% of pregnant women have experienced it, but lifestyle and dietary modifications, can help ease the pain.

Here are ways to have a heartburn-free holiday season, mama:

1. Chew sugarless gum

Chewing gum for at least half an hour after eating increases your saliva production, neutralizing excess acid in your esophagus

2. Avoid spicy foods

Acidic and spicy foods create more acid in your stomach, so it's best to stay away while pregnant. However, every woman has different triggers so it's essential to be mindful of what foods cause your heartburn.

3. Eat small, frequent meals

Instead of having three meals a day, eat smaller and more frequent meals to avoid overwhelming your stomach. Also, drink water in between meals instead of during. Too much food and water in your stomach is a recipe for heartburn.

4. Try OTC antacids

Over-the-counter antacid medications like Tums and Rolaids are considered safe to take to help ease the discomfort while pregnant. However, with any medication, it is best to talk to your doctor first.

5. Wear loose-fitting clothes

Wearing tight clothing is only going to put more pressure on your already crammed abdomen, and could possibly worsen acid reflux.

6. Eat more ginger

Ginger is one ingredient that can help ease heartburn (and nausea), if you don't eat too much of it. More than 2-4 grams per day can actually cause heartburn. Just be sure to check with your doctor before ingesting.

7. Choose baked, not mashed

If you've been suffering from pregnancy heartburn, you don't have to give up your favorite foods. You just have to choose wisely to save yourself some pain later on. For example, mashed potatoes can trigger heartburn, but baked potatoes may not. When it comes to dairy products, the less fat the better. Limit butter and avoid sour cream.

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