Pregnancy hormones relax your body’s ligaments to help your body make room for the baby. Unfortunately these hormones, combined with pressure from your growing baby, may also relax the sphincter muscle that usually stops the stomach contents from coming back up causing heartburn.
Heartburn feels like a burning sensation behind the breastbone and can make your chest feel like it’s on fire. The burning and pain may travel from your diaphragm all the way to your throat. You may have a sour taste in your mouth and the feeling that food is coming back up into your mouth.
When I was pregnant I often suffered from heartburn at night, sometimes it would wake me up and was so uncomfortable it would be difficult to get back to sleep.
There are many things you can do to avoid heartburn or to relieve heartburn:
- eat small, frequent meals
- eat slowly and try to sit up straight while eating
- avoid fried, fatty or spicy food
- avoid bending over
- use extra pillows to prop you up overnight
- make slippery elm tea. Slippery elm is a dried herb. I bought it in powdered form from Neal’s Yard when I was pregnant and although it wasn’t exactly tasty, it was very effective.
Reflexology may also help with heartburn. Your reflexologist should use techniques to:
- calm the stomach reflex area to prevent over activity
- calm the oespohagus reflex area to ease pain
- hold the ‘solar plexus’ reflexes to calm and relieve anxiety
If you would like to try reflexology to see if it will help relieve your heartburn, please contact me to book a reflexology treatment.
Heartburn in pregnancy is extremely common and is usually nothing to worry about, however you should mention it to your midwife to be on the safe side. See NHS: Indigestion in pregnancy for a more detailed explanation of this condition.