A Heartburn during pregnancy is so common, it’s often seen as a completely normal part of being pregnant.1 But that’s not to say it’s a minor problem – it can be very unpleasant and quite painful, and disrupt your sleep at a time when you need it most.

As most mums-to-be know, you have to be very careful about what medicines you take, so it’s no surprise that a lot of them ask, what can I take for heartburn when pregnant?

Don’t worry. You’ll be pleased to know that it is possible to get relief. There are a number of remedies for heartburn during pregnancy, and we’ve also put together some handy lifestyle tips to help prevent or reduce the symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Heartburn During Pregnancy?

Motherhood is filled with surprises, and heartburn during pregnancy is just one of many of them. In fact, many women experience heartburn for the first time when they are pregnant.1

So how do you know if you have heartburn when you’re pregnant? The symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy are the same as for heartburn in general.

The most common symptom is a burning sensation in the centre of the chest.3 This sensation sometimes spreads to the throat, and there may also be a sour, bitter taste in the throat.2,3

While it is certainly very common, it’s hard to know for sure how many expectant mothers experience heartburn – estimates range from 17% to 45%,1,2 and even up to 80% for women in the third trimester.1,3

What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy?

What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy? 

Heartburn tends to ocur when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus (the ‘pipe’ that runs from your throat to your stomach). You can learn some more about it here.

The question is, why does heartburn seem to be more common during pregnancy? There appears to be two separate things going on.


The first is to do with hormones. The body (being the amazing thing that it is!) increases its production of a hormone called progesterone during pregnancy.Progesterone helps prepare your body for birth, but it may also relax the ring of muscle at the base of the esophagus, allowing gastric acid to escape into the esophagus.2,3

Anatomical Changes

The second reason is to do with the space taken up by your growing baby. As your uterus expands, it can put pressure on the area around your stomach.2,3 This may affect the functioning of the ring of muscle at the base of the esophagus.2,3

So, it does seem that heartburn is a natural part of your journey through pregnancy. But this means there is a good chance that your heartburn will go away after you’ve given birth to your baby, and in the meantime, we have some easy-to-follow tips to help you reduce the symptoms.

Getting Relief From Heartburn During Pregnancy

There are two different approaches to relieving heartburn during pregnancy – one is to make some dietary and lifestyle changes that may help prevent or reduce the severity of the problem, the other is to try an antacid.2–4

You’ve probably made some changes to your lifestyle to prepare for the coming of your littleone. To help make sure you have a more comfortable pregnancy journey, there are a few other things you can do that can help make a difference for pregnant women with heartburn.2

Diet Changes

Diet Changes

Try to avoid too much fatty or spicy food, and it’s also a good idea to eat smaller meals,2 even if that means having some healthy snacks between them. Drinking less tea and coffee, or other things with caffeine in them, could also help.2

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle Changes

It’s also been shown that maintaining a healthy weight, raising the head of your bed by about 15 centimeters and avoiding meals close to bedtime can improve symptoms for people in general, not just expectant mums.5

Some of these things may work for some people and not others. You may need to try different things to see which ones work for you.


Antacids, which neutralise the acid in your stomach (gastric acid), can provide relief ofheartburn during pregnancy.2,3 However, they should only be taken if absolutely necessary.

Calcium-based or magnesium-based antacids can be taken by pregnant women under a doctor's or pharmacist's direction.Antacids based on Svarjiksara/ Sodium salts are NOT recommended.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice on which antacid is best for you while you’re pregnant, and let them know if you’re taking any other medicine or nutritional supplement.

Where To Find Out More

Hopefully you now have a good understanding of heartburn during pregnancy and how to get relief. Pregnancy is such an exciting time, we want to make sure heartburn doesn’t take all the enjoyment out of it!

  • References

    1. Richter JE. Review article: the management of heartburn in pregnancy. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2005; 22 (9): 749–757.
    2. Vazquez JC. Heartburn in pregnancy. Clinical Evidence 2015; 2015: 1411.
    3. Neilson JP. Interventions for heartburn in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Systematic Review 2014; 4: CD007065.
    4. NHS. Your pregnancy and baby guide. Indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy. NHS (UK), November 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/indigestion-heartburn-pregnant/
    5. Katz PO, Gerson LB, Vela MF. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108: 3: 308–328.