Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid moves into the oesophagus, leading to heartburn or regurgitation where sour or bitter acid backs up in the throat or mouth. It is more common in pregnancy because pregnancy related hormones slow digestion and, with a growing baby your stomach is more compressed, increasing the chance that stomach acid will creep up into the oesophagus.
The acid reflux has no impact at all on the health of your baby. But what can you do to minimise its effect on you while pregnant?
- Eat healthy foods but space out your eating with smaller, more frequent meals.
- Avoid greasy or spicy foods, especially before bedtime.
- Avoid peppermint tea. While it may soothe your stomach, it also relaxes the oesophageal sphincter which acts like a trap door to acids in the stomach. Relaxing that makes it easier for stomach acids to back up into your throat.
- For the same reason, it is recommended that you avoid alcohol, carbonated drinks, caffeinated drinks and cow’s milk.
- Aim to stay upright for three hours after you eat and you can try to prop up your upper body 15-20cm when you sleep, making it more difficult for stomach acids to travel upward to your oesophagus.