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Why do pregnant women get heartburn or acid reflux?

Updated on July 31, 2012

Heartburn keeping you up at night? This could be due to your pregnancy. Some women report that they never had any sort of problem with acid reflux until they became pregnant. This is not surprising, since due to all the shifting around of your organs, and the hormones being released, your body is not quite functioning as it used to.

You will know that you have heartburn, believe me. It feels just like the word itself sounds. You may feel a burning sensation inside of your throat all the way down to your chest, or it may feel like acid is coming back up your esophagus.

Acid reflux most commonly begins in the second trimester, after 12 weeks, of pregnancy.

When you are pregnant, your body is releasing a hormone, called progesterone, much more than usual. It is the hormone that relaxes the muscles of your uterus, and helps support a growing fetus, but it is also the same hormone that relaxes the valve seperating the esophagus from the stomach. This allows the acid to make its way back up into your throat, causing the uncomfortable burning sensation.

Pregnancy also releases hormones that will slow down the process of digestion. This allows for more time for the acid to travel upwards.

This acid indigestion is likely to become worse as the pregnancy progresses. As the baby grows, the abdominal cavity becomes more crowded, and stomach acid can be forced back up due to the lack of room.

Here's how to get rid of reflux:


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