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Heartburn and indigestion in pregnancy

Heartburn and indigestion are common conditions in pregnancy. There are a number of causes and ways to ease the symptoms.

Indigestion is a term that people use to describe a range of different symptoms that can affect the stomach and digestive system. Indigestion causes discomfort to the majority of pregnant women at some point in their pregnancy. Symptoms can include:

  • pain, especially after eating
  • bloating
  • wind
  • burping
  • nausea.

Indigestion in pregnancy can be caused by hormonal changes, and in later stages when your growing uterus is pressing on your stomach, it can make the problem worse. 

To ease the symptoms, try eating smaller meals more often. Sit up straight when you are eating, as this takes the pressure off your stomach.

Heartburn

Heartburn is a strong burning sensation in your chest. When you are pregnant this is caused by the valve between your stomach and the tube leading to your stomach relaxing. This means stomach acid can pass into the tube, causing the burning feeling.

It is often brought on by lying flat, so sleeping propped up can help. Try to avoid eating for a few hours before bed, as this can also help to relieve the symptoms of heartburn.

Medication for indigestion or heartburn

If symptoms of heartburn or indigestion persist you can ask your GP or midwife for advice. They may be able to prescribe an antacid remedy that is safe for you to take while pregnant

Further information

NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all aspects of being pregnant, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700. We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

NHS choices offers information on indigestion and heartburn.