What Causes Heartburn in
Heartburn or acid reflux is quite
common nowadays, especially women who are under the throes of pregnancy. It’s true that those who suffer from acid
reflux symptoms may encounter problems if left unchecked; pregnant women, however, who experience this for the
first time, need not worry.
Medical studies show that it is quite normal for pregnant
women to experience heartburn symptoms from time to time and is totally harmless, except for the fact
that it can be quite uncomfortable.
Heartburns in pregnant women can come in 2 forms. One is the
usual mild burning sensation originating from the chest that travels up to your throat. The second
one is a lump-like sensation in the chest area which is the build-up of acid in your stomach that
is pushing through the valve in your lower esophageal tract.
Also, acid reflux is normally attributed to external factors,
like the food we eat, unhealthy habits, or weight problems. However, pregnant women’s heartburn is a natural result
of their condition.
Heartburn in Pregnancy is
Causes of heartburn in pregnancy are deeply rooted to the
body’s reaction in bearing a child. There are 2 major factors involved that causes this problem – hormones and the
growing size of your child.
1. Hormones - Progesterone
Heartburn in pregnant women is caused by a hormone called
progesterone that is produced when a woman is either in their menstrual cycle or under the throes of pregnancy
Progesterone or P4 (pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione) relaxes
the smooth muscles in the woman’s body, specifically the smooth muscles found in the intestines and the valve that
separates the esophagus from your stomach – the latter being the culprit that causes heartburns to
The esophageal sphincter (LES) is the
valve found on the lower tract of the esophagus that stops the acid in your stomach from entering. Progesterone
weakens the muscles of the LES to the point that it allows backflow of acid from the stomach,
thus, giving you heartburn or acid reflux. In addition, pregnant women will not be experiencing heartburns
Also, progesterone slows down the digestion
rate. That is why a lot of pregnant women tend to eat less than they normally do. More solids in the stomach would
normally result to more acid being produced. This is why it is advisable for pregnant women to eat less during
meals, especially when you’re already in the later stage of pregnancy.
Of course, the growth of your unborn child is also the cause of
heartburns. The size of your unborn child will eventually crowd your stomach cavity, pushing the
organs upward that will inadvertently squeeze your stomach, pushing acid up towards your esophagus despite the
presence of LES. It would also be safe to note that women who are in their late pregnancy will suffer more
heartburns as their child continue to grow.
There are plenty of ways for pregnant women to counteract this
problem. It is somewhat worrisome that some doctors tend to recommend the use of antacids to counter this problem,
though it works, may cause problem with the fetus due to the presence of
In most cases, heartburns in women are
unavoidable if you’re in the later stage of pregnancy. However, there are steps
that you can do in order to possibly get rid of the problem or to minimize the discomfort that comes with
For starters, pregnant women should watch what they eat. Due to
the size of your baby and the progesterone slowing down your digestion rate, it is advisable to eat less during
meal times, thus avoiding the overproduction of acid in your stomach.
Also, it is advisable to stay away from habits that might
trigger acid reflux, like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating
spicy food, coffee, chocolate, and other acid and fatty
foods. These might also have adverse effect on the baby so it is safe to shy away from