Last week on the blog, you read my take on Gestational Diabetes. This week’s blog topic is on heartburn during pregnancy. Heartburn during pregnancy is a mystery to some and simply an old wives tale to too many of us about having a hairy baby–a baby with a full head of hair or a baby with a lot of body hair, which seems pretty comical as we are taking bets on how much hair your baby will have. Truth be spoken though, I have seen some validation to this tale. My own first child was born a hairy little monster resembling one of the Beatles on a Hard Day’s Night at week 36. Did he have more hair because he was early? Probably, but maybe not. The heartburn during that pregnancy was like none of my other pregnancies with the two bald little guys who followed. BUT, I did some things different too. I followed ALL of my recommendations to avoid pregnancy heartburn that I’ve listed below to a pregnancy T.
So, let’s get a little science geek for a minute with a video from the Mayo Clinic: What causes Heartburn During Pregnancy?
Heartburn during pregnancy is usually caused by the hormone Relaxin, a normal hormone that softens everything in the body during pregnancy for opening to allow space in the body for the growing baby and then for facilitating birth to happen, as in softening and opening in the pelvic joints to allow the baby to descend into the pelvis and out the birth canal.
At the the top of the stomach is a sphincter, a flap of muscle that opens and closes to allow food to enter. With the presence of Relaxin, this sphincter muscle softens and gets laxed. When the sphincter opens due to Relaxin, the food and digestive acid swishes up into the esophagus causing a burning sensation. Women want to know what they can take to alleviate some of this sensation and to rid these symptoms completely.
One day I was shopping at my local Apothecary and a newly pregnant woman was looking for Tums because her OB said they were a great source of calcium and that Tums would relieve her of pregnancy heartburn symptoms. I don’t work for the store but the women who work there know me and know that I am a doula. The ladies immediately called upon me to help the woman shop for the supplements she needed for a healthy pregnancy and to avoid Tums at all costs.
Tums calcifies your placenta. This is HUGE
This is very important to know and Why to AVOID TUMS.
What does that mean? Calcification is the accumulation of calcium salts in a body tissue. It normally occurs in the formation of bone, but calcium can be deposited abnormally in soft tissue, causing it to harden. It is similar to a smoker and causing blockages in the arteries and lungs. Your placenta is your baby’s breathing mechanism and your baby’s lifeline. Why would it be ok to cause hardening in the tissues of the placenta? It is NOT ok to have hardening and calcification in the tissues of the placenta because your baby depends on this organ as his/her lifeline.
As a Doula and one who follow natural foods and functional medicine and leads a life of Ayurvedic medicine for over 30 years, I am often asked (probably daily) what can be taken for Heartburn During Pregnancy?
- Water with lemon and/or cucumber.
2. A shot of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar chased with a teaspoon of organic Coconut Oil.
4. Old Fashioned Seltzer or sparkling water (NOT Club Soda due to the amount of sodium). Add a little lemon and/ or cucumber.
5. Brioschi with water but use in limited amounts because of the amount of sodium.
6. Supplement of combined Calcium plus Magnesium (and maybe Zinc).
7. Chlorophyll, Liquid A green drink is soothing to the digestive tract, eliminates waste, assures you of fresh breath and is very healthy for you. Must stay refrigerated once opened. You drink 1 teaspoon in water twice a day.
Prenatal Yoga for Heartburn
In my Prenatal Yoga classes I talk a lot about Heartburn: the causes and poses that are helpful and ones to avoid. Here are a few poses to practice when you have symptoms of heartburn.
- Poses with arms over head (for a short time to shorten time of reverse blood flow).
- Side stretches to open space on the left side body at the top of the stomach.
- Heart openers or slight backbends.
What can you do to avoid heartburn in pregnancy besides growing a hairy baby?
- Avoid spicy foods
- Avoid fried foods
- Gallbladder attacks and gallbladder stones are very common in pregnancy and can be confused with chronic heartburn. Try to choose foods that are all natural and not containing added fats and preservatives. Your gallbladder will be happy and so will your stomach sphincter!