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Heartburn After Pregnancy

In spite of the name, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. Acid indigestion is a better moniker for this sour, burning sensation in the upper abdomen, the chest, or the throat

Stomach acid is at the root of heartburn. When gastric juices stay where they belong — in the stomach — they pose no problem. Heartburn happens when stomach acid splashes into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. This backwash occurs because of too - frequent relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscular valve that separates the esophagus and the stomach. When the sphincter relaxes, it allows the stomach acid to move upward into the esophagus, causing symptoms of heartburn and, in severe cases, damage to the esophageal lining.

Changing hormone levels during pregnancy can generate heartburn, because they relax the muscles of the digestive tract and also infl uence how you tolerate food. Pregnant women are susceptible to heartburn at any time, but it ’ s common in the third trimester, when the baby is big enough to crowd your stomach and push stomach contents into the esophagus. About half of all pregnant women have heartburn in the latter part of pregnancy, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

Heartburn After Pregnancy: References

Kohner, N., The Pregnancy Book, Health Promotion England, 2005
Harms, R.W., Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, Harper Collins, 2006

By Mortin - Copyright 2010
Last modification 10/02/2010