When does heartburn start in pregnancy

Heartburn is a common discomfort many pregnant individuals experience. It’s characterized by a burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone, which typically occurs after eating and can last several minutes to a couple of hours.

When Does Heartburn Typically Start in Pregnancy?

Heartburn can begin at any time during pregnancy but is most common during the second and third trimesters. There are a few reasons for the onset and intensification of heartburn as pregnancy progresses:

  1. Hormonal Changes: Early in pregnancy, a surge in the hormone progesterone causes the relaxation of smooth muscles, including the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is a valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When it’s relaxed, stomach acid can escape into the esophagus, causing the discomfort of heartburn.
  2. Growing Uterus: As pregnancy progresses and the baby grows, the enlarging uterus can put pressure on the stomach. This added pressure can push stomach contents, including acid, into the esophagus, especially during the third trimester.

Factors Increasing the Likelihood of Heartburn:

  1. Diet: Consuming spicy, acidic, or fatty foods can trigger or worsen heartburn.
  2. Position: Lying down shortly after eating can exacerbate heartburn.
  3. Size of Meals: Larger meals can cause an increase in stomach acid.
  4. Weight: Being overweight before becoming pregnant or gaining a significant amount of weight during pregnancy can increase the risk of heartburn.
  5. Multiples: Carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, etc.) increases the likelihood of heartburn because of the added pressure on the stomach.

It’s essential to remember that every pregnancy is unique. Some individuals might experience severe heartburn early on, while others might not experience it at all. If heartburn becomes bothersome or affects your ability to eat or sleep, it’s essential to discuss it with your healthcare provider. They can offer advice on dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, and safe treatments to ensure your comfort during pregnancy.