What does heartburn during pregnancy feel like?
Heartburn (also called acid indigestion or acid reflux) is a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. Many women experience heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, and although it’s common and generally harmless, it can be quite uncomfortable.
Heartburn and related issues like gas and bloating during pregnancy usually start in the second or third trimester, but it can be sooner for some women. The discomfort will probably come and go until your baby is born, but in most cases heartburn is no longer a problem after delivery.
Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy might continue to have heartburn for up to a year after having their baby.
What causes heartburn in pregnancy?
Some of the hormonal and physical changes in your body during pregnancy can cause heartburn. For example, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus. This hormone also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, which can make gastric acid seep back up and cause that unpleasant burning sensation in your throat.
Progesterone can also make digestion sluggish by slowing down the wavelike contractions of your esophagus and intestines. Later in pregnancy, your growing baby crowds your abdominal cavity, pushing stomach acid back up into the esophagus.
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