I'm in my second trimester. No matter what I eat, I get heartburn. Is this normal? If so, what can I do to feel better?
Heartburn, despite its name, has nothing to do with the heart. It's a burning feeling in the throat and chest when the stomach's contents move back up into the esophagus (the tube that moves food from the throat to the stomach).
Heartburn is common during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can make the valve at the entrance to the stomach relax so that it doesn't close as it should. This lets acidic stomach contents move up into the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER), or acid reflux. It can get worse later in pregnancy when the growing uterus presses up on the stomach.
To help ease heartburn pain:
- Skip foods and drinks that can make it worse, such as citrus; spicy, fatty (especially fried or greasy) foods; caffeine; and carbonated drinks.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day.
- Take your time when eating.
- Drink liquids between — not during — meals.
- Avoid eating or drinking for 3 hours before bedtime.
- Resist the urge to lie down after meals.
- Raise your head when you sleep.
- Talk to your doctor about medicines that are safe to take for heartburn during pregnancy.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: 08/26/2019