Many pregnant women report complained of heartburn (a hot chest due to gastric acid rising), especially during the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Reflux in Pregnancy
Heartburn (gastrointestinal disorders due to gastric acid) is an irritation or burning sensation in the esophagus caused by acid reflux of the stomach.
Heartburn During pregnancy can occur due to changes in hormone levels, which can affect the gastrointestinal tract muscles. The pregnancy hormone can cause the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle valve between the stomach and the esophagus) becomes relaxed.
As a result stomach acid easily rises to the esophagus. In addition, an enlarged uterus can suppress the stomach, pushing stomach acid upwards.
Symptoms of GERD in pregnant women
Although the symptoms are similar to ulcer symptoms, there is still a distinguishing symptom, such as:
- Quick satiety
- Less appetite
- Burning sensation in the chest
- Rise gastric fluid into the esophagus into the mouth
The last two symptoms mentioned are the symptoms that distinguish GERD and ulcer.
Reflux in pregnancy effects
Although symptoms often occur in pregnant women, it does not mean gastric acid disease can be ignored. The reason, this condition could have a bad impact if allowed to be protracted without treatment. The following are some of the complications of gastric acid disease:
The ulcer of the esophagus is a wound on the wall of the esophagus caused by the rise of gastric acid. Initially, gastric acid will only cause inflammation or esophagitis. However, when persistent, inflammation can become increasingly severe and eventually form a wound that causes pain and difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia).
In addition, wounds that are formed due to gastric acid can be very deep and cause bleeding. Although the severity is small, this can cause anemia that is harmful to pregnant women.
In addition to developing wounds, inflammation of the esophagus caused by gastric acid can also form scarring. This scar tissue makes the esophagus narrow, so it causes difficulty in swallowing.
A Barret esophagus is a condition when the tissues on the wall of the lower part of the esophagus undergo changes to resemble the tissues on the intestinal wall. This condition does not cause certain symptoms, but may increase the risk of esophageal cancer
How to prevent acid reflux during pregnancy
Eat in small portions, but more often.
Another recommendation to resist antacids is to eat in smaller portions that are timed throughout the day. Consuming food in smaller portions every few hours, instead of three larger portions with longer distances prevents the stomach becoming too full and suppresses the diaphragm and pushes the acid up to the esophagus.
Therefore, change the meal or snack schedule for 5-6 times with smaller portions arranged every 2 hours every day.
Eat without haste and chewy food well.
Chew food or snacks slowly before swallowing. That way, the food will be digested better.
In contrast, eating too quickly without chewing properly reduces the production of saliva in the mouth and causes the stomach to work harder and increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal upset and heartburn.
In addition, eating slowly tends to prevent you from consuming excessive food because it feels full quicker.
Chewing gum after eating.
Chewing gum can help relieve antacids because it stimulates the production of saliva, which contains neutralizing acid bicarbonate. Swallowing more saliva can literally “turn off the flame” because saliva neutralizes the stomach acid that enters the esophagus. In this case, saliva becomes the body’s natural antacids.
Tips when experiencing GERD when pregnant
- Do not sleep immediately after meals. At least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid spicy, oily and fatty foods. These foods make it uncomfortable in the stomach.
- Drinking lots of water.
- If felt uncomfortable, consult a doctor.
Read also: How To Get Rid Of Acid Reflux While Pregnant
How to stop reflux in pregnancy
If before pregnancy, you already have a history of GERD, then the possibility of you experiencing GERD during pregnancy will be greater. But do not worry, there are some tips that can be done to prevent or reduce the GERD complaint:
- Avoid foods that cause GERD such as spicy foods to relieve symptoms.
- Small but frequent diet portions, avoid large quantities of food.
- Avoid unhealthy living patterns such as smo**king and alco**hol, limiting consumption of caffeine.
- Sit in an upright position while eating so as not to add pressure to the stomach.
- When lying down, use extra pillows so that the head position is higher.
But if with lifestyle changes, but symptoms have not improved, there are medications that can help relieve it. Related therapy for GERD, you can consult with Internal Medicine Specialists in Sub Gastroenterology for further treatment.
Read also: How To Cure GERD Permanently
Thank you very much for reading Reflux in Pregnancy: Symptoms, Effects, Prevention, and How To Stop It, hopefully useful.