Battling that awful pregnancy heartburn? I have had heartburn and acid reflux in every one of my pregnancies, so I can completely relate. People may suggest you take tums while pregnant, but they are not always helpful in battling that dreaded acidity in pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my second baby, I would get heartburn so badly it made me cry, even after all the tums! In this blog, I want to share with you some ways to fight pregnancy heartburn so you can be more comfortable during your pregnancy journey.
One of the biggest reasons you may get heartburn during pregnancy is because your growing baby and uterus is pressing on your stomach. Eating big meals when you have a whole, little human (or humans!) pressing on your insides can cause some pretty awful acid reflux and heartburn. This is why eating smaller more frequent meals throughout the day can decrease your chances of having heartburn or acid reflux in pregnancy. Getting small snacks in throughout the day may also help with maintaining even levels of blood sugar.
The ferrous sulfate in iron supplements is pretty acidic and can irritate your esophagus and stomach causing pregnancy heartburn. You may think the heartburn is being caused by pregnancy, but it could actually be your pregnancy iron supplement potentially. This happened to me in my first pregnancy, after I switched iron supplements I didn’t have as many issues with iron supplement constipation or pregnancy heartburn thankfully!
Furthermore, you cannot take antacids after taking iron supplements because the calcium in antacids counters the iron. This means the iron will not be properly absorbed by your body.
What you can do is take a ferrous fumarate based iron supplement instead. Ferrous fumarate actually has a higher amount of elemental iron, 33% elemental iron. A 200 mg tablet of Ferrous fumarate thus contains 66 mg elemental iron compared to 65mg of elemental iron in ferrous sulfate.
I wish I had known about papaya enzymes for pregnancy heartburn years ago! Unripe Papayas contain papain which are proteolytic digestive enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes break down proteins into smaller peptides and this helps your body digest your food more easily.
You can purchase chewable tablets of papaya enzymes and take them after your meals to help prevent or stop pregnancy heartburn. I have purchased these papaya tablets and really like them so far! This brand does contain calcium in it, so wait at least two hours before/after taking your iron supplement so that the calcium doesn’t cancel out your iron supplements absorption.
Bonus points for papaya enzymes, they are an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant!
When purchasing chewable papaya enzymes, be sure to check the label to make sure the supplement you purchase is actual papaya enzymes and not Calcium Carbonate disguised as papaya enzymes. There are a few popular brands that are mostly calcium carbonate rather than actual enzymes.
You can use baking soda to fight off pregnancy heartburn! Baking Soda has an alkaline pH which neutralizes the acid in your stomach and can tame heartburn or acid reflux. This neutralization of stomach acid can interfere with the absorption of supplements and medications in your stomach, so don’t take Baking soda to relieve pregnancy heartburn until at least 2 hours after taking your supplements.
In order to use baking soda to relieve pregnancy heartburn, you can add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water.
As a mom who has battled heartburn and acid reflux in pregnancy before, I really hope this blog can help you in alleviating your heartburn discomfort! As a doula, I am not a medical professional and you should be sure to check in with your care provider if you have any questions about heartburn treatments.
Jenni Jenkins – Sekine is an Oklahoma Bereavement, Birth, & Postpartum Doula and Child Birth Educator who serves her Central Oklahoma community. She is also a midwifery assistant with Holistic Birthing Services and began her journey as a student midwife with the Midwives College of Utah in 2022.
To learn more about Jenni, please click here.