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

15 ways to soothe heartburn during pregnancy

The management of heartburn or GERD during pregnancy involves many of the same principles as management in of heartburn or GERD in women who are not pregnant, and the general population that suffers from GERD. Specifically, the so-called "lifestyle" changes should be meticulously followed. Listed are some home remedies that can reduce or eliminate heartburn symptoms.

Raise the head of your bed

The two feet of the head of the bed should be raised on 6 to 8 inch blocks. Alternatively, a 6 to 8 inch wedge-shaped foam rubber pad should be used to elevate the upper body. It is important that the foam be firm enough to truly elevate the upper body. The wedge should also extend all the way to the waist so that the entire chest is elevated. Using pillows alone will not work since this can put pressure on the stomach and aggravate symptoms.

Lay on your left side at night

Lying on the left side at night may decrease acid reflux just as it does in women who are not pregnant, and other individuals with GERD. In this position, it is physically more difficult for acid to reflux into the esophagus. Occasionally, it may be necessary to sleep in a recliner chair at a 45-degree or greater angle.

Don't bend over after eating

After meals avoid activities that require you to bend over. Instead take a short walk, do light housework, or surf the internet to avoid bending over.

Don't smoke

Pregnant women should not smoke. In addition to harming the fetus, smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter and aggravates acid reflux.

Bend right

Don't bend at the waist; bend at the knees instead.

Avoid tight clothing

Avoid tight clothing, which puts pressure on your abdomen and can aggravate reflux.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/20/2015

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  • Heartburn and Pregnancy - Experience

    Please share your experience with heartburn during pregnancy.

  • Heartburn and Pregnancy - Foods to Avoid

    What other foods besides the ones listed here, have you found to aggravate your heartburn?

  • Heartburn and Pregnancy - OTC Drugs

    What safe and effective OTC medications have you found to help relieve symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy?

  • Heartburn and Pregnancy - Home Remedies

    What other home remedies have you found helpful in soothing heartburn during pregnancy?


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