Beat The Burn

That burning sensation, rising up in your throat. The first time you have it, you might wonder what it is, but after that, it's unmistakable: heartburn. During pregnancy, heartburn is a common experience and it can make for a very painful day to day life. But you don't have to take it!

Woman Covering Mouth

When Tammy Lemley, Vice President of North American Network, Inc., was pregnant with her first child, she begged her husband to run to the drugstore at 11:30 p.m. for Tums. "There was no way I could lay down to go to sleep without them. The heartburn came and went at different times throughout my pregnancy. Tums became my best friend and I kept them in my desk, in my car, in my coat pockets, etc so I was always prepared," said Lemley.

Lemley, who also found relief with many small meals instead of three bigger ones, isn't alone. Many women suffer from pregnancy heartburn.

Nurse Midwife Shari Criso, who owns The Birth Boutique( in Denville, New Jersey, says that there are two causes of heartburn during pregnancy: an increase in progesterone production, which causes muscles to relax and allows the acid from the stomach to rise up; and pressure on internal organs from the expanding uterus.

"Usually you will see it in the second trimester," Criso said, adding that earlier in pregnancy, heart burn is likely caused by the progesterone.


There are many over the council antacids on the market. Some, like Tums, have calcium, an important nutrient for pregnant women. However, women should be careful to avoid any antacids with aluminum, says Criso.

Some women, however, aren't helped by antacids. Former television news reporter Orly Telisman, who is Manager of Media Relations for The Field Museum in Chicago, found that chalky antacid pills only left her with an unsightly white mouth during broadcasts – without alleviating the heartburn. She found relief in a prescription for the lowest dose of Zantac. "I took a pill everyday - it was the only thing that helped - and it was better than carrying around my noisy super-sized Sam's Club plastic canister of chalky pills," said Telisman.

Eating right

Eating a lot at once can make heartburn worse, so Criso recommends eating more smaller meals during the day. "Avoid eating large meals and over stuffing your stomach. At that point, your stomach can only handle a little at a time," Criso said.

That's a tried and true technique for some moms. "My best defense against heartburn is to keep eating! Snacking throughout the day, so my stomach is never really "empty" helps keep the heartburn away. Seems like it strikes when I've waited too long between meals. .... So, I eat breakfast at home before work then I have a mid-morning snack. And then, I eat lunch an hour or two later. I also keep granola bars and dried fruit in my desk so I can have an afternoon snack. Sometimes that's all I need to stave off the burning till I can get home for dinner," said Lemley.

Foods that help

There are some foods that can help alleviate the pain of heartburn without the use of medicine. Mel Bail, who writes, says that she found a moo-tastic solution for heartburn. "Cold milk (even in the middle of the night. It increases the midnight wakings to go to the bathroom, but at least I can fall right back to sleep afterward," Bail said.

In fact, recommends drinking milk or eating something similar like ice cream before eating a meal can help avoid heartburn. "Milk, cream, or low-fat ice cream taken right before a meal may coat your stomach and relieve some of the acid burn," the site says.

Also, limit the amount you drink while eating, Criso says. She recommends to avoid gulping water and instead sip it throughout the day. Additionally, spicy foods, greasy foods, caffeine, garlic, onion and cabbage can also cause heartburn to raise its ugly head.

Whatever works for you - whether it's Rolaids, milk or something like saltines or ginger (which do work for some moms) - just know that heartburn won't last forever.

Tell us below: What has helped your pregnancy heartburn?

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Comments on "Pregnancy heartburn: 3 tips to stop the burn"

G. KIBOS June 06, 2013 | 2:46 AM

1. Chewing a piece of raw ginger can keep you going 2. Take a lot of water 3. Avoid acidic food

Vivian May 08, 2013 | 4:01 AM

Banana are good remedy to heartburn, avoid unripe fruits and not doing very strenious work realy helps.finaly fix your mind up with something that makes you happy cos anger can allso trigger immediate heartburn. Always make sure you have food in your stomack and take more water

sara April 22, 2013 | 6:13 PM

everytime hearburn starts i eat a scoop of icecream and it goes away. hope this helps

VIOLETH March 28, 2013 | 8:23 AM

atleast a cup of cold milk is real helpful

Melissa March 12, 2013 | 6:59 PM

I am 42 years old and I am 18 weeks I have not found any thing to stop the heart burn I can't take anymore meds for it I feel sick all the time either from heartburn or to much antacids. Help.....

Esther Ezekiel January 14, 2013 | 6:24 PM

Ginger Tea really helped me to defeat heart burn

amy July 05, 2012 | 7:45 PM

Cold milk feels good just before bed.

andrea R July 02, 2010 | 12:09 AM

i am in my 25th week and my heartburn has been the worst symptom i have had. i get it throughout the day a different times but it really gets bad at night. At this point i am taking either 75 mg or 150 mg of zantac twice a day, and i still need to use rolaids sometimes at night. I also have to sleep propped up on so many pillows that gravity is helping me out too because i find that the acid just runs right up my esophagus if i lay down. i cannot pick things up either because bending over pushes acid out! But i never heard the cold milk remedy so i'm definitely going to try that one too!

Betsy January 22, 2009 | 9:26 AM

A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar is a natural approach that can really help - the vinegar neutralizes the acid...

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