Heartburn During Pregnancy

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

View the Heartburn Foods to Avoid Slideshow

Heartburn during pregnancy facts

  • Heartburn is a condition in which acid backs up (refluxes) from the stomach into the esophagus and sometimes up to the throat, irritating the tissues.
  • Heartburn during pregnancy can be overwhelming. To some women it seems a constant problem.
  • Heartburn during pregnancy can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, or acid reflux).
  • Heartburn during pregnancy feels the same as heartburn when you are not pregnant - a burning pain in the upper abdomen or chest area.
  • Heartburn during pregnancy is a common symptom due to high levels of estrogens and progesterones during pregnancy causing the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle at the lower end of the esophagus that normally prevents acid from refluxing) to weaken. This weakness resolves after delivery. In addition the growing uterus can also put pressure on the stomach and push acid into the esophagus.
  • Heartburn during pregnancy can usually be managed with changes in diet, lifestyle, and habits.
  • If lifestyle changes do not resolve the heartburn during pregnancy, a doctor may recommend antacids, but these should be used only under a doctor's supervision. Antacids may reduce the absorption of iron in the diet, and magnesium-containing antacids could slow labor. Consult your doctor before taking any medications, even over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, while you are pregnant.
  • Because heartburn during pregnancy is thought to be caused by pregnancy hormones, heartburn will usually go away after delivery and no further treatment is needed.

What is heartburn during pregnancy?

Heartburn (a symptom of GERD gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs in one-quarter to one-half of all pregnant women. It usually begins in the first or second trimester of pregnancy and continues throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Fortunately, heartburn during pregnancy is usually mild and intermittent, but it can be troublesome or severe. Here are some tips to help you manage heartburn during pregnancy.

What causes heartburn during pregnancy?

Heartburn during pregnancy is caused by a combination of pregnancy hormones and the growing baby inside you pushing on your abdominal organs. Fortunately, heartburn during pregnancy usually goes away after delivery.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/20/2015

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  • Heartburn and Pregnancy - Foods to Avoid

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  • Heartburn and Pregnancy - OTC Drugs

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  • Heartburn and Pregnancy - Home Remedies

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