Heartburn is a nasty condition in which the stomach acid comes up the oesophageal tube creating a painful burning sensation around the heart area.
While heartburn really has nothing to do with the heart, it can feel like your heart is on fire, and this happens most commonly during pregnancy. While acid reflux and heartburn are most common in the third trimester, they can occur during the earlier stages of pregnancy too.
One possible cause of heartburn during pregnancy is the hormone progesterone, which causes the valve that prevents stomach acids from passing back into the esophagus to relax, allowing for acids to pass more easily and irritate the lining.
The key to combating heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is to neutralise the acid and prevent the stomach contents from making its way back up. There are a number of expensive remedies you can buy at the chemist, and for some people, these antacids and prescription medications work wonders.
However, they are not recommended for frequent use and are often banned during pregnancy and for breastfeeding mums. So try some of these safer and more affordable alternatives to combat heartburn:
1. Yoghurt or Milk
Drinking yoghurt or a glass of milk can relieve heartburn. Try nut milk, rice milk or goat’s milk as alternatives to cow’s milk. Some say cow’s milk can offer immediate relief, however, some say over time it can worsen the heartburn.
Warming the milk and adding some honey soothe the burning sensation in the chest for some.
Peppermint is quite safe for pregnant women – sucking on some mild peppermint lollies or drinking peppermint tea can help heartburn symptoms.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into glass of water, to help balance the acid levels in your stomach during pregnancy.
Chewing gum after meals is a great way to reduce your risk of getting heartburn. The chewing sensation stimulates the salivary flow rate which will wash away the acid that ends up in the stomach.
Chew six blanched almonds if suffering from heartburn to relieve the burning sensation.
Apples are a great way to cool down your tummy and stop the burning. Make up a delicious apple honey dessert for after meals. Simply peel, core and slice the apples and simmer in water and honey for three hours until the mixture is thick and brown. Leave in the fridge and grab a few tablespoons whenever your oesophagus is giving you a hard time.
Ginger is the cure-all for tummy problems so it’s no wonder it made it onto this list. The best way to use ginger to cure heartburn is to add 1 tablespoon of ginger root into a cup of water. Simmer the mixture for ten minutes, let it cool and drink.
8. Fruit Juices
If you have a juicer, then blend up some papaya, mango, guava and pear and drink. These fruit juices can relieve the heartburn and make for a tasty and healthy after-meal treat.
Sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on some toast for a natural reliever for heartburn. Or make cinnamon tea from a cinnamon stick. Other excellent spices for curing heartburn include cardamom and sage.
If you become concerned about any symptoms (especially central crushing or squeezing chest pain, pain radiating to the back, neck, jaw or down one or both arms, tingling fingers, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and dizziness), please seek immediate medical attention. We have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice.*
*SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.