How can I ease my pregnancy heartburn?

Chest pain after a meal? You may suffer from acid reflux. Here are ways to avoid this uncomfortable condition…

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It’s date night and you’ve just enjoyed a sumptuous meal with your hubby at your favourite restaurant. But what’s this, though your meal was delicious, you’re starting to feel a burning sensation originating from your tummy to the centre of your chest.

There’s also a sour taste at the back of your mouth and food seems to be stuck in the throat. Before you panic and imagine that you’re having a heart attack — you’re suffering from heartburn.

SmartParents expert and consultant ob-gyn Dr Christopher Chong lists reasons for pregnancy heartburn, a condition commonly suffered by pregnant women:

* A bigger womb The enlarged size of your womb presses on the intestines, slowing the speed at which food enters your intestines. In fact, your womb is exerting greater pressure on your whole digestive tract, thanks to the lack of space.

* Hormonal changes during pregnancy Dr Chong says these changes can slow down peristalsis, the process where food moves along the intestines. Gastric juices also pass at a slower rate, as well. Another pregnancy hormone — progesterone — causes a loosening of the “valve” (the sphincter) that connects the oesophagus to the stomach. This makes it easier for acid to move from the stomach to the gullet, a process known as acid reflux.

You should experience fewer aches and pains if you make sure to set aside time to exercise throughout your pregnancy.

* A drop in physical exertion or movement A lack of physical activity can cause your metabolism to drop, so food isn’t being burned as efficiently into energy. You should experience fewer aches and pains if you make sure to set aside time to exercise throughout your pregnancy.

* Vomiting, gagging and nausea It’s commonly suffered by pregnant women, especially those dealing with morning sickness. Heartburn is caused when gastric juices and reflux of foodstuff rise into the gullet, resulting in heartburn.