How to help beat the discomfort of heartburn in pregnancy

Many pregnant women suffer the misery of heartburn, but there are effective ways to ease the symptoms

Full term pregnancy young woman eating apple
(Image credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF)

Many pregnant women suffer the misery of heartburn, but there are effective ways to ease the symptoms

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Being pregnant is amazing, but if you're one of the many women who suffer from heartburn when you're expecting, you'll know it can make you feel really uncomfortable.

So, how can you tell if you've got heartburn? Well, you'll probably notice a burning sensation in your chest or throat after eating; a hot, sour taste in the back of your throat and some difficulty swallowing; pain behind your ribs, and an unpleasant sensation of a 'knotted' stomach. Although common, it's still important to check with your GP or midwife to confirm that these symptoms are being caused by heartburn, and not by any other conditions.

You're certainly not suffering alone. Heartburn affects 22% of women in the first trimester of pregnancy, 39% in the second and 72% in the third. It can occur for several reasons, including increased levels of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve between stomach and oesophagus. As a result, stomach acid is more likely to pass into your oesophagus, leading to those nasty symptoms.

Another cause in the later months is simply your baby's increasing size, which makes your womb press on your stomach, forcing stomach acid up into the oesophagus.

If you're suffering from symptoms regularly, talk to your GP or midwife, who may recommend some changes to your diet and lifestyle which can help. Try these top heartburn-busting tips:

• Take your time when eating so your tummy doesn't get overloaded

• Eat smaller, more frequent meals, rather than three large ones

• Sit up straight – avoid slumping, or lying down soon after eating

• Limit your intake of fatty or fried foods

However, if you continue to get heartburn despite your best efforts, then try Rennie tablets. They can be taken during pregnancy to help reduce symptoms by neutralising excess stomach acid. Rennie* comes in a range of tasty flavours from spearmint to orange, so there's sure to be one that suits you – helping you to enjoy your pregnancy and planning for your new arrival!

*Rennie Peppermint - always read the label. If symptoms are severe or prolonged, you should consult a doctor or pharmacist. If you are pregnant, medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine during pregnancy.