Like the name implies, this is a burning sensation in your chest near where the heart is -- but it has nothing to do with your heart. "Most women will experience some acid reflux [or heartburn], especially in the second half of their pregnancy," says Dr. Brasner, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City.
An old wives' tale claims that heartburn means your baby will be born with a full head of hair, but your baby's locks aren't the problem. High levels of progesterone cause the muscle that sits between the esophagus and stomach to relax. "When this happens, acids from your stomach can move upward more easily," says Dr. Rabin, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and women's health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City. And as your uterus grows, the pressure it puts on your stomach may also push up these acids.
Lying down right after a meal can cause or worsen heartburn. This horizontal position makes it easier for acids from your stomach to travel up to your esophagus. "Wait a couple hours after eating before going to bed, or prop yourself up on a few pillows," says Dr. Rabin.
Although you may be craving some French fries or dying for a big bowl of super-spicy chili, try to find milder alternative fare. Foods laden with grease or that might make you break out in a sweat are sure-fire heartburn contributors.
Antacids can help neutralize the acid in your stomach and bring relief to your heartburn fast. Though the tablet versions are more portable, Dr. Brasner says the liquid kind may be more effective. Before rushing out to the nearest pharmacy, first be sure to get your doctor's okay before taking antacids—or any other medications—during pregnancy.
If none of the these tips bring you relief, a trip to your health care provider is in order. He or she can suggest a prescription medication that's safe for you to take during your pregnancy.
Find other ways to manage your pregnancy tummy troubles with these helpful resources: