by Tessa Finney-Brown
Adv. Dip. Homeopathy
Another all-too-common complaint during pregnancy is GORD, or gastro-oesophageal reflux. You might know it as heartburn, that burning discomfort in the chest and throat (usually after eating). Nearly two thirds of women experience this during pregnancy, most commonly in the third and final trimester.
One of the reasons for this is that the pregnancy hormone Progesterone causes a relaxation and loosening of the ligaments and muscles in the body, in preparation for giving birth. The lower oesophageal sphincter, the muscle which usually closes off the oesophagus (food pipe) and stomach also becomes looser. This then allows acid to escape from the stomach and travel back up into the oesophagus, where it irritates the delicate tissues. In addition, food may move through the digestive tract more slowly, exacerbating the problem.
Often, the added pressure of the growing baby, along with any tension or stress can also make heartburn worse.
Luckily, there are a number of natural remedies that can help with reflux.
- Avoid any triggers, such as caffeine, smoking, alcohol, fatty or fried foods (these aren’t so great for the baby anyway). Some women find that spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices and chocolate also make reflux worse.
- Raising the head of the bed by 15cm or propping yourself up on pillows to sleep allows gravity to help keep food and stomach acid down where it belongs.
- Avoid heavy or large meals by eating smaller meals more frequently.
- Avoid eating after 7pm in the evening to allow time for digestion before bed.
- Don’t wear tight clothing around your waist.
- Pick things up with bent knees rather than leaning over as this may encourage acids to spill out from the stomach.
- The herb Ulmusfulva is commonly known as Slippery Elm. This helps to soothe the irritated oesophagus and reduce stomach acid from refluxing. It can be taken as a tea with a little honey, or as capsules with a glass of water.
- Taking digestive enzymes with your meals may help them to be digested better and stop food from “sitting” in the stomach.
- Drinking teas made from chamomile, marshmallow, aniseed or fennel have been said to help reduce the heartburn of pregnancy.
Homeopathic remedies can quickly relieve symptoms of acute reflux and indigestion. They are natural and safe to take during pregnancy.
There are many homeopathic remedies for heartburn and reflux during pregnancy, the most effective medicine will be the one that matches your symptoms as this will stimulate the best healing response. Sometimes one remedy during the day is effective and then as you are horizontal during the night, you may have slightly different symptoms and therefore need a different remedy.
Common heartburn remedies are Sulphur, Colchicum, Pulsatilla, ArsAlb, Nux Vomica, Kali Carb, Calc Carb, Nat Mur and Mag Carb which are available during a consultation with a registered homeopath. These remedies are in easy to take pills or drops which taste pleasant.
If you have any tips that have worked for you during your pregancy please let us know? Similarly, if you would like to ask one of our practitioners a question about your pregnancy please post your question below.
Naturopath -Tessa Finney-Brown
Homeopath – Inez Hanson