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5 Ways to Manage Heartburn in Pregnancy

The most solid old wives tale is actually related to heartburn! Rumor has it that the more heartburn you experience the more hair your baby will have. Personally, I only have 2 pregnancies to compare BUT it was definitely true in my small sample study.

What's the deal with heartburn and pregnancy going hand in hand anyway? Well, you can thank progesterone for your troubles. Progesterone relaxes your esophageal sphincter which allow your partially digested food and stomach acids to flow back up, yum. There's a really great episode about the whole digestion process on the Magic School Bus if you want more deets. We can't forget about that little bundle of baby hanging out putting pressure on your stomach, that also adds to the heartburn dilemma.

While you have already Googled things that you should avoid eating, here are 5 tips you may not have come across to help manage your pregnancy heartburn:

  1. Reduce the size of your meal. BUT be careful on this one. Often times, when we hear "eat smaller meals" we go straight for carbs. Make sure your meals include a protein, healthy fat, fiber (veggies), and a carb and that you snacks include a protein and a fat, carb and a fat or protein, basically always include the extra stuff. NO NAKED CARBS.

  2. Have dinner earlier! Look at it as preparing for life with kids, dinner is at 5! Try starting with a 3 hour gap between your last nibbles and bedtime. When you hit the mattress, start on your left side to help with heartburn management...or avoidance.

  3. Drink your liquids BEFORE or AFTER your meal rather than with your meal. Aim for a 30-60 minute gap between liquids and meals. Breakfast is a great example, ditch the coffee while you eat the eggs and instead enjoy the coffee 30-60 minutes after.

  4. Journal your food, figure out when your heartburn is the worst. What did you eat? Too much sugar, extra gluten, did you maybe indulge on the dairy? When you determine your heartburn triggers start minimizing your intake and or figure out what times of day it is worse. Other things you would want to take note of are the time of day, what time was your last nibble and what time was bed, did you sit down after a meal-did that affect your heartburn, etc. You may do this for 3 days to get a good feel for what may be causing you problems.

  5. Make sure your meals are balanced-this goes back to number 1. We are talking about blood sugar balancing meals here because higher blood sugar levels increases your chances of dealing with heartburn. To make sure your meal is balanced it would look something like this: a piece of toast with butter, two scrambled eggs with spinach, tomatoes, and red onions. Pairing the toast with protein (eggs) and fat (butter and oil to cook eggs) plus fiber (veggies) slows the release of glucose (carbs/toast in this case) into your blood stream.

Here are some ideas for meals and snacks to enjoy to combat your heartburn:

  • liquid nutrition, bring it to the blender! Smoothies are such a great way to get some extra veggies in, and this summer a tasty tropical smoothie will not dissapoint.

  • cucumbers and guacamole

  • peppers and carrots with hummus (throw in some mini naan breads if you need a bigger snack)

  • try less grains and more fat and protein

  • swap your rice for riced cauliflower and make a really tasty chicken or tofu veggie stir fry + sesame seeds for extra calcium!

  • lettuce wraps, lettuce burger, burrito bowl, soups and stews, charcuterie

  • try first and second breakfast: first breakfast should be high in protein and your second breakfast should be more balanced like an open faced breakfast sandwich, greek yogurt parfait, overnight oats etc.

  • opt for FULL FAT dairy and swap your regular yogurt for Greek yogurt (my favorite brand is Fage)

Need a little extra help with your heartburn management? Try papaya enzymes instead of tums OR try adding some fresh pineapple to your meal.

Are you craving more nutrition support? Book a consult and get started today!

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