Your spouse is likely to suffer from heartburn during her pregnancy. This happens because the hormone progesterone, produced during pregnancy, relaxes a valve situated between her stomach and esophagus. Because of the relaxation of this valve, stomach acids that are usually restricted to the stomach start to rise up into the esophagus and cause heartburn. The growing baby too pushes the uterus up against her stomach, and this further aggravates heartburn.
Though heartburn cannot be avoided completely, your spouse can reduce its intensity in the following ways:
- Eating smaller meals, and at regular intervals
- Eating slowly and chewing the food well to allow saliva to neutralize the acid
- Avoiding carbonated sodas, processed meats, spicy and fatty foods, chocolates, caffeine, and other foods articles that are likely to intensify heartburn symptoms
- Avoiding too much water along with the meals
- Giving up cigarettes or alcohol
- Eating meals at least a couple of hours before lying down or going to bed
- Wearing comfortable and loose-fitting clothes to bed
- Sleeping with the upper part of the body propped up on a pillow. This will prevent the acid from entering into the esophagus.
- Taking an antacid containing calcium or magnesium; this should ideally be done only after consulting the doctor first.