Acid reflux is a common complaint experienced by pregnant women. In order to avoid this condition, pregnant women need to know first what causes stomach acid to rise during pregnancy and how to prevent it.
A common symptom that is felt when stomach acid rises during pregnancy is a burning sensation in the pit of the stomach (heartburn). These symptoms usually appear after eating and can get worse at night. In pregnant women, acid reflux (GERD) usually occurs in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Causes of Stomach Acid Rise During Pregnancy
Hormonal changes are the main factor that causes stomach acid to rise during pregnancy. The stomach has a valve called the cardiac sphincter, which is a ring-shaped muscle between the throat and stomach.
This sphincter relaxes when we swallow food, so food can enter the stomach, and contracts after food enters, so food from the stomach cannot return to the throat.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes can reduce the strength of the sphincter muscles, making it easier for stomach acid to rise up into the throat. In addition, the growing fetus will put more pressure on the stomach and push the stomach contents up.
Prevention of Stomach Acid Rises During Pregnancy
Acid reflux disease needs to be prevented. The reason is that this disease can have a dangerous impact on pregnant women. There are several ways that pregnant women can do to prevent stomach acid from rising or relieve symptoms caused by this condition, namely:
- Get used to eating small portions but often, rather than eating large portions at once.
- Chew food slowly until it is completely smooth before swallowing, so that food is digested more quickly by the stomach and flowed into the intestines.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of water while eating.
- Avoid lying down after eating or having a snack at night before going to bed.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing that puts pressure on the stomach.
- Avoid eating foods that trigger GERD, such as spicy or acidic foods, fatty foods, and fizzy and caffeinated drinks.
- Stay away from cigarette smoke, because it can interfere with the functioning of the cardiac sphincter.
During pregnancy, pregnant women are also recommended to eat high-fiber foods to prevent constipation. Digestion that is not smooth can also slow down the emptying of the stomach so that the food in the stomach easily rises to the throat.
Stomach acid rises during pregnancy is common during pregnancy, especially at the end of pregnancy. However, this condition can be prevented with a healthy diet and lifestyle. If this method does not also succeed in alleviating the symptoms of GERD that pregnant women experience, consult a doctor so that treatment can be given.