Heartburn is one of those extremely annoying pregnancy side effects, and hard to treat effectively for any period of time. Even by avoiding certain foods, not eating prior to bedtime, and taking antacids many pregnant women find that heartburn is a real problem, and without proper treatment it can cause severe pain and even permanent damage. Is there another way to treat heartburn in pregnancy that could be more effective?
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is caused by your normal acidic stomach contents escaping the stomach and “splashing” up into the oesophagus. Pregnant women are prone to heartburn due to the increase in progesterone produced by the placenta, which in turn relaxes muscles in the body, including the valve that keeps the contents of your stomach out of your oesophagus.
As your pregnancy progresses, the incidences of heartburn usually increases, as the uterus begins to push up on the stomach, making it harder for the stomach contents to “stay put”. So how can you treat heartburn effectively?
Antacids aren’t the answer
Common heartburn remedies like antacids offer short-term relief of heartburn, but may lead to longer-term problems. Your stomach acid’s acidity level is essential to good digestion, as well as ensuring optimal absorption of vitamin B12 – which is important for your nervous system. By treating heartburn with antacids you are reducing the acidity of your stomach acid, which means that your body will be less able to absorb essential vitamins and nutrients. Additionally, by failing to fully break down proteins, the absorption of these proteins can lead to allergy like symptoms and even auto-immune issues.
How chiropractic care helps
If heartburn is bothering you during pregnancy, consider chiropractic care to help. Regular chiropractic care can help to relieve stress on the muscles and nerves surrounding your digestive system, so there is less pressure forcing the contents of your stomach up into the oesophagus. Chiropractic treatment is highly recommended for pregnant women, as it can relieve a variety of issues besides heartburn, and ensures that the body is properly aligned for a smooth delivery. It may not be the most comfortable correction that I do in practice with pregnant women but they all seem to keep coming back asking me to do it again next time because it really does help.