Acid reflux or heartburn is a common discomfort during pregnancy. Some women experience it more during their first trimester and for others it doesn’t become a problem until their third trimester.But if it hits you, here are five quick tips to help alleviate your symptoms.
Tip #1: Avoid trigger foods
Fatty and acidic foods are known contributers of acid reflux so if you’re struggling with it avoid the following foods: fried foods, fast food, full-fat dairy products, fatty cuts of meat and acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes/tomato sauces, vinegar, chocolate, mint, garlic and onions. Try lower fat cooking methods like steaming, broiling, or roasting. Switch to low-fat dairy products and choose fruits like berries and melon.
Tip #2: Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Even though you need more calories when pregnant eating a large meal can slow digestion and cause acid reflux. Instead, try having mini meals throughout the day to stay satisfied and feeling great. Here’s an example of a mini-meal or snack: whole grain crackers + cheese + a piece of fruit.
Tip #3: Slow down
Savoring your food will not only increase the enjoyment of whatever you are eating but will help you feel better as well. A few tips to help you slow down:
- Shut off the TV, computer, phone – you’re more likely to slow down if you’re not distracted;
- Try putting your fork down between bites; and
- Use chopsticks
Tip #4: Avoid lying down right after a meal
Lying down on a full stomach can trigger symptoms. Make sure there is plenty of time between eating and lying down. If you need to rest sit-down in a semi-upright position. When you do lie down, try elevating the head of the bed by putting wood blocks or bricks.
Tip #5: Reduce Stress
Constant stress can also cause gastric reflux symptoms. Identify stressors in your life and figure out ways to manage it. Some ideas include taking a relaxation class, going for a walk, listening to calm music, talking to a friend or family member. Figure out what works best for you to manage the stress in your life.
Need more tips on eating during pregnancy? See a nutritionist on Amwell.