Many women have heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, particularly during the second and third trimesters. Although this is not usually a sign of a serious problem, it can be uncomfortable or painful. Gastroesophageal reflux is often called "acid reflux" or "heartburn." But this condition has nothing to do with the heart!
Indigestion is also common during pregnancy and can occur with heartburn. Also known as "dyspepsia," indigestion is just another name for an upset stomach. You'll know you have indigestion if you feel very full, bloated or gassy.
Causes of heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy
Heartburn occurs when digested food from your stomach, which contains acid, is pushed up toward your esophagus (the pipe between your mouth and your stomach). This causes a burning sensation behind your breastbone or a burning sensation that starts in your stomach and seems to rise up. You may also have a sour taste in your mouth or a feeling that vomit is rising in your throat.
Several things can cause heartburn and indigestion, such as:
During pregnancy, hormones relax the muscles in your digestive tract, including the valve in the esophagus. This allows stomach acids to more easily seep back up the esophagus, especially when you're lying down. Heartburn can be worse in the second and third trimesters, when your growing uterus presses on your stomach. This sometimes pushes food back up into the esophagus.
Pregnancy hormones also slow down:
What you can do
Follow these tips to prevent heartburn:
Eat smaller meals.
Drink less while eating.
Avoid foods that trigger heartburn.
Avoid bending or lying down right after eating.
Don't gain too much weight.
Wear comfortable clothes.
Raise your head when you lie down.
When to talk to your health care provider
For most people, heartburn is temporary and mild. But severe heartburn can be the sign of a more serious problem. Talk to your health care provider if you have any of the following:
Knowing the signs of pregnancy can help you tell if you’re pregnant. Here are some signs that you might be pregnant:
If you have any of these pregnancy signs and think you may be pregnant, go to your health care provider. The sooner you know you're pregnant, the sooner you can begin prenatal checkups and start taking good care of yourself and your growing baby.
You'll start feeling your baby's kicks at around the 28th week of pregnancy. By this time, your baby's movements are usually well established and some health care providers recommend keeping track of these movements.
Keep counting until you've felt 10 movements from baby. If baby doesn't move 10 times within 1 hour, try again later that day. Call your health provider if your baby's movement seems unusual or you've tried more than once that day and can't feel baby move 10 times or more during 1 hour.
Popcorn popping. A little fish swimming. Bubbles. Butterflies. Tickles. These are common words used by women to describe their baby's first movements. Also known as "quickening," it's a reassuring sign that your baby is OK and growing. This milestone typically starts sometime between 18 to 25 weeks into pregnancy. For first-time moms, it may occur closer to 25 weeks, and for second- or third-time moms, it may happen much sooner.
At first it may be difficult to tell the difference between gas and your baby moving. You might not feel movement as early as you are expecting to feel it, but you'll notice a pattern soon. You'll start to learn when the baby is most active and what seems to get her moving.