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Heartburn when pregnant

Heartburn occurs when your stomach acid makes its way back up the esophagus rather than remaining in your stomach, and results in a burning sensation in your chest or throat. Though all people are at risk, pregnant women are especially likely to experience heartburn, particularly later on in the pregnancy.

What causes it?

Your pesky pregnancy hormone progesterone is at work again, relaxing all of your body’s smooth muscle tissue, which results in the inability for your esophagus to prevent stomach acid from making its way back up. Progesterone also makes digesting more sluggish, contributing to the heartburn. This effect could be compounded later on in the pregnancy as Baby grows and crowds your abdominal cavity.


Try avoiding fried or heavily processed foods, as these are more likely to cause heartburn than healthy foodstuffs like fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Chewing gum after eating, and avoiding eating too close to bedtime are other ways you can try to prevent heartburn. Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol could also increase the effects of heartburn. You should let your healthcare provider know if your heartburn doesn’t resolve with diet modifications.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • Sir John Dewhurst. Dewhurst’s Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 8th ed. Keith Edmonds. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2012. Print.
  • “Heartburn and indigestion.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes, 8/9/2015. Web.

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