Professor Ellis Downes, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, The Portland Hospital
Q. Since becoming pregnant, I have regularly experienced heartburn. How do I alleviate this?
A. Unfortunately heartburn in pregnancy is very common, and many mums, up to 30% can suffer from it. Pregnancy heartburn usually develops in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, but some mums are unlucky enough to develop it earlier. Heartburn is more likely with big babies or twins. Heartburn occurs for two main reasons: firstly, the placenta makes a hormone called progesterone; this can cause smooth muscle to relax, good for the uterus to reduce the chance of premature delivery, not so good for the oesophagus because it makes heartburn more common. Secondly, as the baby gets bigger the pregnant uterus pushes upwards on the stomach also increasing the chances of experiencing heartburn. The best way to treat heartburn in pregnancy is firstly taking regular smaller meals, rather than three big meals a day – to reduce the volume of food in the stomach. Secondly some medications such as Gaviscon, can settle the symptoms of heartburn. Some spicy foods may make heartburn worse, and sufferers may need to experiment with their diet to try to improve the symptoms. The good news is that is usually resolves quickly after delivery.
For further information or to book an appointment please call Professor Downes' secretary.
Telephone: 020 7935 7341 or 01707 873122
Fax: 020 7935 7342 or 01707 870825