Is it Normal to Get Heartburn in the First Trimester of Pregnancy?


When it comes to recognizing early signs of pregnancy, every woman is different and there will be various indicators long before any visual confirmation. One of these potential signs of early pregnancy is heartburn and indigestion.

When a woman becomes pregnant, the levels of progesterone in her body rise and remain elevated for the duration.  These increased levels of progesterone result in the relaxing of the stomach valve leading back to the esophagus, allowing an increased amount of stomach acid to enter the throat and thus causing that burning sensation we all associate with acid reflux.

These additional hormones due to pregnancy also cause a woman’s digestion to slow to allow her body – and the baby’s – to absorb more nutrients.  This can also result in food lingering in the stomach longer than normal, causing increased stomach agitation and heartburn, a symptom that is only exacerbated by the growing womb crowding the abdomen.

There are many possible early signs of a brand new pregnancy but none are a guarantee that a woman is now expecting. However, heartburn could be a sign of early pregnancy, especially for a woman who knows of no other contributing factors.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of heartburn unexpectedly and more frequently, try minimizing consumption of spicy and acidic foods and beverages, avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible, and opt for dairy products high in calcium or probiotics to help alleviate discomfort.  Most importantly, though, if the symptoms of heartburn do not subside or you believe you may be pregnant consult a primary care physician as soon as possible and consider the additional resources offered by Baptist Health for expecting mothers.

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