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Acid reflux is common during pregnancy. Making lifestyle changes and taking medication can help relieve it.
As its name implies, gastroesophageal reflux, commonly called acid reflux, is a problem that occurs when the acid contained in the stomach flows back into the oesophagus. The oesophagus is a tube that allows ingested food to pass from the mouth to the stomach.
Gastroesophageal reflux affects more than a third of pregnant women. Therefore, it is very common, but usually minor. It isn’t uncommon for symptoms to worsen as pregnancy progresses. Fortunately, they usually resolve themselves after childbirth.
On rare occasions, a woman may experience more serious symptoms that can lead to certain complications (i.e., weight loss, difficulty eating, insomnia, etc.). If a pregnant woman has acid reflux, she is more likely to experience it again with subsequent pregnancies.
Acid reflux can lead to various manifestations, such as the following:
Acid indigestion occurs more frequently after meals or during the night.
The occurrence of acid reflux during pregnancy can be caused by various factors. The most significant factor is an excess of certain female hormones (particularly progesterone) produced during pregnancy. This hormonal surplus relaxes the sphincter that separates the oesophagus from the stomach, making pregnant women more prone to acid reflux.
Additionally, it has been suggested that slower digestion during pregnancy and increased pressure by the uterus and the baby on the stomach, contribute to the onset of the problem. However, this remains to be proven.
Managing acid reflux in pregnant women depends first and foremost on non-medicinal measures. Making simple lifestyle changes can really contribute to reducing symptoms of acid reflux. Here is some advice to this end.
If lifestyle changes are insufficient to provide relief, you can consider medication. There are several over-the-counter drugs intended to relieve acid reflux that have proven effective and safe for pregnant women.
However, this is not the case for all medications! Therefore, it is essential to always consult your pharmacist or doctor before taking medication without a prescription. This recommendation also stands for natural health products and supplements. You should see a doctor if:
Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about gastroesophageal reflux during pregnancy and its treatments.
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