Even if you do not normally experience heartburn, you may find that during your pregnancy you have it as early as the first trimester. This occurs for a variety of reasons.
"Heartburn is certainly not a stranger to the pregnant woman," says Michele Hakakha, , M.D., a Los Angeles-based board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist. "It is triggered by the high levels of progesterone causing relaxation of the muscular sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus."
Changes in digestion can also lead to increased instances of heartburn during pregnancy. "Food sits in the stomach for longer periods of time and as the uterus enlarges, it puts mechanical pressure on the stomach," Dr. Hakakha says. "All of these things lead to stomach acid creeping its way up the esophagus to cause heartburn."
There are many remedies to help ease the symptoms of pregnancy heartburn, from changing your diet to trying out a new sleeping position. Dr. Hakakha recommends eating small, frequent meals instead of three large meals each day, as well as cutting certain foods from your diet, such as citrus fruits, spicy foods, tomatoes and tomato sauces, caffeine and chocolate, all of which can make heartburn worse. Dr. Roshan also suggests elevating the head of the bed, drinking a lot of water and avoiding tight clothing.
Alternatives to Prilosec During Pregnancy
Because Prilosec has a category C rating, doctors typically recommend alternative medications for pregnant women. Safe alternatives for treating pregnancy heartburn including over-the-counter Tums or Mylanta, and prescription medications including H2 blockers (Tagamet, Zantac and Pepcid) and other proton pump inhibitors (like Prevacid, AcipHex and Nexium), which have a category B rating, which indicates that they're routinely and safely used during pregnancy.
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