Monday, July 25, 2011

Heartburn in Pregnancy and What To Do About It

I have had some pregnancies with no relief from heartburn and at least one in which it was hardly an issue.  So, what's the diference?  Some will tell you it is how much hair your baby has.  And after Kynzie was born with a very full head of hair, I thought it might be true!  But since then, I've started to have my doubts.

I have had plenty of time to experiment with various remedies.  I thought I would list some of my findings here.

Some of the obvious, easy ones are drinking enough water and eating small meals at regular and more frequent intervals, preferably with plenty of protein.  Another given - some regular exercise.  Walking, swimming, etc.  Some regular movement. 

Also, the method of treating your heartburn depends on why you have it... are you not producing enough acids, or are you producing too many?  I have not learned really how to tell the difference, so it has been by trial and error finding relief.

1) Chewing on some gum... I reccomend xylitol gum.  There used to be a heartburn gum on the market when I was pregnant with Kynzie (over seven years ago) that I used with great success.  Two years later when I was pregnant with Max, they didn't sell that gum anymore.  So, I started to experiment with other chewing gums.  I guess the premise is that it helps stimulate acids to help break down the food.  Pregnancy often slows down digestion.

2) Paypaya or other enzyme tablets - these have been life savers for me at some points.  I buy the chewable, but as with any chewable tablet, there is always a sweetner, so watch out for corn syrups as well as artificial sweetners. 

3) I have used milk or yogurt successfully as well as...

4) Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's).  Two seemingly opposite ends of the specturm, milk and vinegar, but again maybe it is due to my heartburn being caused by different problems at different times?

5) Lastly, I have a theory.  I believe that if you become constipated (which also seems to plague many pregnant women), you will have more hearburn.  I have used psyllium husk for this with great success.  Some have told me psyllium husks cause them to have stomach cramps.  I am not sure, but possibly this is a sign it is doing what it is supposed to??  Not sure, though, as it doesn't give me cramps. 

I have heard some use slippery elm bark instead of psyllium husks.

This last point is also helped by regular exercise and a healthy food plan (Bradley or better!) and plenty of water.  Eliminate white sugar and flour, and add fiber where you can!

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