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Monday, March 22, 2010

Feeling the burn (heartburn that is)!

So, I am 36 weeks, which I am calling the "beginning of the end". Basically it is when all of those interesting side effects of pregnancy start becoming worse if they haven't already. Like, thought you had a backache before? Ha, it becomes a whole new ball game in the last few weeks.

So one of the latest side effects that has descended upon me in the last week is heartburn! I consider myself lucky because many women have it way worse than I do, and have it set in a lot earlier, but it is unpleasant none-the-less. So I did a little reading on the subject and thought I would share some tips that I found:
  • Eat multiple small meals per day (5 or 6) instead of 3 bigger ones. When your stomach becomes empty, acid starts building and making the heartburn worse. If it starts and you are due to eat dinner in a bit, having a couple of saltines or oyster crackers can help to neutralize it until you sit down to eat.
  • Don't overeat and stuff yourself. Basically the little doorway to your esophagus isn't working the way it used to, so give it a little room.
  • Watch your intake of citrus, tomatoes, caffeine, chocolate, garlic, onions, acidic and spicy foods and see if you feel better on days where you limit those items. Try re-introducing them to see if they are triggers for you.
  • Avoid greasy and fatty foods.
  • Eat slower and chew thoroughly. Inhaling your food will make it worse. If you chew more, your stomach won't need as much acid to break down the food. Also, when you eat slower your body will send a signal that you are full before you over-stuff yourself.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. But do not fill up on water during meals. Try drinking more between meals. When you drink during meals it can fill your belly too much so you feel stuffed.
  • I have read that a glass of milk or a bit of yogurt after meals helps with short term relief.
  • Do not lay down right after meals. Let yourself digest a bit by walking around and moving. Propping yourself up a pillow or two may help (not just your head because that can hurt your neck).
  • Do not eat right before bed. Give yourself a couple of hours to digest.
  • Be careful not to pop too many antacids--and talk to your health care provider about which ones are safe. Some can interfere with uterine contractions because they contain too much magnesium later in pregnancy.
Another interesting side note about heartburn is about the correlation between newborn hair and heartburn severity. I thought it was probably an old wive's tale joke that I saw on my friend's Facebook page. But then my mom mentioned it. She said it is true, and that she had a lot of heartburn with me (I had a lot of hair) and none with my little sister (bald as can be).

So I looked it up, and HA there have been studies that DO link the two seemingly unrelated events! I was kind of blown away. But here is a link to the study I saw: . Apparently there is a relationship to the two. The explanation from this study states "We propose a shared biologic mechanism involving a dual role of pregnancy hormones in both the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and the modulation of fetal hair growth".

Well look at that, I learned something new in the little exercise and I hope you did too. In case you are interested--I had very little heartburn with Sam. He had a little bit of hair (more like fuzz) and it was gone very quickly. Sam was bald thereafter well past his first birthday. His first birthday pictures show a happy little bald kid. This baby is giving me more heartburn than Sam did, so I will see if this one has more hair!

In health and wellness,


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