Is Heartburn a Sign of Pregnancy Early On?


Is heartburn a sign of pregnancy? When a woman feels frequent heartburn, does it mean that she has conceived? What about when that heartburn is accompanied with gas, is it an indication of pregnancy?

You just tried to lie down and got this burning sensation going up your gut. You could also have taken a fruit and before it even settles in, you already have a heart burn. What causes this? Could this be an early sign of pregnancy? Are there ways through which a heartburn can be prevented in pregnancy? The answers to all these and much more can be found below.

Is Heartburn a Sign of Pregnancy - Early Signs of Pregnancy
Is Heartburn a Sign of Pregnancy – Early Signs of Pregnancy

Can Heartburn Be an Early Sign of Pregnancy?

Digestive disorders could occur in the early days of pregnancy. Among these are indigestion, heart burn and acid reflux. These can be attributed to the rise in progesterone which makes the valve at the top end of the stomach to relax. Gastric acid then finds its way into the esophagus.

It is most common when one is lying down and could begin in the first trimester and get worse with time. This though is not common and only 30 percent of women experience it in early pregnancy. Heartburn can therefore be a sign of pregnancy but it is not reliable.

If this becomes too much of a problem, one should try eating at least three hours before going to bed. Using pillows to raise your head will allow proper digestion as the stomach will be in a position lower than the upper body.  This way the acid will be contained in the stomach.

 Is Heartburn an Early Sign of Pregnancy?

Hormones making the esophagus to relax and thus lead to an acid reflux are on the rise but not in such a high level. While getting heartburns may be possible in early pregnancy, the odds are very slim. Heartburns are therefore an early sign of pregnancy though very rarely experienced at that stage of the pregnancy.

Is Frequent Heartburn a Sign of Pregnancy?

It is likely for most women to experience heartburn during their pregnancy. It is very common starting from the second trimester and is harmless though it can be a bit painful.

It occurs as a burning sensation which starts from the lower part of the throat and extends to the area around the breast born. This occurs when some acid from the stomach goes up into the esophagus. The gas may go all the way to the throat and mouth leaving one with a bitter and sour taste.
Heartburns are mostly caused by hormonal changes at the initial stages of the pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses, the increasing size of the abdomen suppresses the stomach causing gastric acid to be pushed up thus causing a heart burn.

As the production of progesterone increases, the smooth muscles relax. The valve which separates the stomach from the gullet also relaxes. Relaxation of the abdominal muscles lowers contractions that help in movement of food thus slowing down digestion. This allows room for gastric acid to flow to the gullet leading to a burning sensation.
In the later stages of the pregnancy, the expanding uterus and the growing baby push the intestines and the stomach up causing acids to flow from the stomach to the gullet. These lead to frequent heartburns during pregnancy and are bound to be experienced as a result of eating, lying down, bending or drinking.

Is Heartburn and Gas an Early Sign of Pregnancy?

The onset of a pregnancy triggers production of more hormones than were there before. Progesterone causes a slowdown in digestion. This could lead to bloating and creates more time for the food to produce gas.

The pregnancy hormones also relax the muscles making it hard for someone to control the gas.

On the other hand, the same hormones cause a loosening and softening effect on the ligaments leading to heartburns. This does not always happen early.  A few women experience it early in the pregnancy while most experience it starting from the second trimester.

While gas may be an early sign of pregnancy just like bloating and nausea, heartburn may not be. By the time it kicks in, the pregnancy will have been past the first trimester.

How Do You Prevent Heartburn in Pregnancy?

To reduce heartburn during pregnancy without hurting your baby, you should try the following:

  • Take many small and short meals a day as opposed to the three main meals
  • Chew your food properly. Take your time to eat.
  • While eating, drink less. While it is important to keep well hydrated, drinking too much during meals may cause heartburn. Sip fluids in meal time and be sure to take most fluids between meals as opposed to during meals

Avoid these foods:-

Heartburn in Pregnancy
Heartburn in Pregnancy
  • Chocolate:Be sure to limit the amount you take
  • Alcohol: One has to quit drinking to avoid heartburn and any other harm it may have on the baby.
  • Fatty foods: They take long to digest and making it easy for stomach acids to get into the esophagus. To take care of this, take baked foods instead of deep frying.  Opt for lean meat and dairy products with low fat content
  • Caffeinated beverages: things like coffee and soda trigger heartburns. Limit caffeinated products and opt for decaffeinated ones.
  • Citrus foods: The acidity in them causes heartburn
  • While eating, drink less. While it is important to keep well hydrated, drinking too much during meals may trigger heartburn. Sip fluids during meal time and be sure to take most fluids between meals as opposed to during meals.
  • Give room for some time to pass before lying down after eating. Immediately you are done eating, engage in activities that involve sitting or standing but not lying down. One could get involved in simple household chores, take a walk or read while sitting.
  • While lying down, ensure your head and shoulders are higher than the legs to prevent the acid from going up. This can be done using pillows to elevate the upper parts of the body..
  • Tight clothing increases pressure on the stomach thus one should wear free fitting clothes to avoid it.
  • Avoid getting constipated
  • Chew gum to stimulate production of saliva. This will help because saliva is said to neutralize acidity.
  • Avoid gaining too much weight. Keep within the allowed weight gain range during pregnancy.
  • Quit smoking. Apart from being a major threat to fetal development, smoking also triggers heart burns. This is because it relaxes the valve separating the gullet from the stomach.
  • While bending, do it from the knees as opposed to doing it from the waist.
  • Taking ginger will help to ease the heartburn as it is known to minimize digestive woes such as this, vomiting and nausea. It is also safe for pregnant women.

Where the heart burn is too severe, it is important to see a doctor for medication. That leads us to the next question which is:

When Should I See a Doctor About Heartburn in Pregnancy?

If the pain happens to be on the right upper side, this may indicate that it is a liver problem and could be unrelated to the pregnancy. See the doctor to eliminate doubts.

If the pain of heartburn sign of pregnancy is excruciating and doesn’t seem to stop, this could be a digestive problem that is not related to the pregnancy. One of the things it could be is peptic ulcers. These and any other serious burning sensations should be discussed with the doctor.