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According to an old wives’ tale, pregnant women who suffer from heartburn give birth to babies with lots of hair. As if feeling gassy and bloated wasn’t enough to deal with, you are now faced with the prospect of bearing an ape. But take heart - it really is just another old wives' tale.
You probably haven’t paid a great deal of attention to your oesophagus until now, but the food pipe that carries food from your mouth to your stomach can play some nasty tricks: as pregnancy hormones relax the valve connecting your stomach and oesophagus, this allows stomach acid to come sneaking back up towards your mouth.
The resulting burning feeling in the back of your throat and pain in your chest area are known as heartburn.
You might feel breathless, or like a very large elephant is sitting on your chest. But don’t panic - it has nothing to do with your heart and it doesn’t affect your baby.
Symptoms are usually worse in your second trimester, as your growing baby presses against your stomach. Over time, you will work out which foods settle best in your stomach; spicy, fatty foods should generally be avoided, and all foods just before bedtime. Sleeping propped up against pillows can help, and try not to bend over, as that just squashes your tummy.
Discuss your heartburn with your antenatal team, as simple over-the-counter remedies can help, but there are safe, more effective medicines if you need them. Yoghurt, milk, peppermint tea and ginger beer can help soothe the discomfort.
And the best cure of all is to give birth – that will happen eventually and, when it does, the heartburn will disappear instantly, as if by magic.
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