One of the most common discomforts associated with pregnancy is acid reflux, or heartburn. Several factors associate this with pregnancy, but they boil down to hormonally-driven bodily changes.
It’s relevant that even women who had never previously suffered from acid reflux, may experience this during pregnancy. The problem usually manifests in pregnancy’s later stages, especially once the fetus has developed into full-term.
The severity does vary between women – some surrogate mothers receive very mild, tolerable and controllable symptoms, while others unfortunately experience much worse bouts. But it may help to understand just why this discomfort occurs.
One of the factors linking heartburn to pregnancy is the hormonal change that happens then – an increase in hormonal levels can drive certain changes in how the body functions.
For instance, the lower esophageal sphincter – LES – may loosen up, causing gastric acid to flow up, or ‘reflux’, into the esophagus. The main function of the LES is to prevent stomach acid from doing this, but it’s loosened by hormonal changes.
Another factor is the simple change that occurs to a woman’s body. As the baby develops and grows, the woman’s belly expands to accommodate its increasing size and the associated increase in amniotic fluid.
This can cause some amount of pressure to the esophagus and stomach, disrupting normal digestive processes and thereby causing acid reflux.
There are several ways to avoid the problem. One is to avoid foods that tend to trigger or aggravate the system – citrus fruits/juices, spicy foods, oily or fried foods, and processed food products especially. It may also be a good idea to cut down on chocolate and caffeine.
Another tip is to eat small but frequent meals throughout the day; this helps to achieve efficient digestion. Light snacks between meals will keep you from experiencing hunger pains – the point is to avoid heavy meals that put pressure on the digestive system and trigger heartburn.
Acid reflux is definitely preventable, if you observe the proper measures. Learn what to do and make changes in your eating habits to control it – and therefore enjoy a healthier and more comfortable surrogate pregnancy.