Severe Heartburn During Pregnancy: Causes and Remedies

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Virtually all pregnant women suffer from heartburn at some point during their pregnancy. It’s most common to experience it during the third trimester, although for some it starts as early as the first trimester. Depending on when it appears, its causes are different, but remedies don’t vary much across different trimesters.

Severe Heartburn in Pregnancy: Causes and Remedies

Let’s start by talking about the causes of heartburn in pregnancy.

What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy?

Before diving into the causes, we need to make sure what you’re experiencing actually is pregnancy heartburn. Some of the pregnancy heartburn symptoms include:

  • burning sensation in the throat or chest
  • bringing up food
  • belching, burping

If you recognize yourself in these symptoms, let’s see what can cause them.

First Trimester Heartburn

As with most ailments during the first trimester, pregnancy heartburn in the first trimester is caused by the flood of hormones in your body. In this case, they prevent the valve at the entrance of your stomach from closing completely, making it easy for food to travel back up. This is what causes acid reflux.

One of the most common first trimester ailments is, of course, morning sickness. If you suffer from it, here are some meals and home remedies you can try.

Third Trimester Heartburn

The bigger your uterus gets, the more it presses on your stomach. This ends up causing a multitude of issues, such as constipation and not being able to eat a lot in one go. Your uterus also ends up pushing acid upwards, causing that burning sensation in your chest or throat.

It’s not that common for heartburn to appear during the second trimester, but if it does, it could be any of these two reasons (or their combination).

Foods That Cause Heartburn During Pregnancy

There aren’t that many foods that can cause heartburn during pregnancy. Some of those (like caffeine) should be avoided during pregnancy in general. Other troublesome foods and drinks include anything fatty, greasy, spicy, citruses, and carbonated drinks.

Everything else likely falls under foods that won’t cause heartburn during pregnancy.

Heartburn During Pregnancy: Home Remedies

I’ve had some heartburn during the first trimester, but nothing too serious. The third trimester, however, has me battling it for days in a row. What helps me best is cold milk. Almonds are also a great solution – I like to add them to yogurt and make a healthy little snack that helps me greatly. Finally, you can try crackers or some magnesium-enriched water.

If you’re thinking about using TUMS for heartburn, here’s a piece about that.

How Can I Sleep With Heartburn While Pregnant?

The final question I’d like to answer is how to avoid pregnancy insomnia due to heartburn. Sometimes, the acid reflux will wake me up in the middle of the night, and with my throat burning, getting back to sleep can be really difficult. You can either get up and get one of your home remedies or, if you’re lazy like me, simply prop yourself up a bit. Even a single extra pillow can prevent acid from traveling all the way up.

You can also have a cold glass of milk next to you just in case, or even drink one before going to sleep, to be on the safe side. Guess that answers the age-old question “does milk help heartburn during pregnancy”!

Severe Heartburn During Pregnancy: Bottom Line

I hope my personal experience (and some research) on severe heartburn in pregnancy, its causes, and remedies helped answer any questions you might have had. Let me know if any other home remedies worked for you so I can add them to the list!


A 27-year-old married mom-to-be, trying to have it all. I have a full-time job I enjoy, a home I’m in love with, and plenty of hobbies I try my best to have the time for. A psychologist by vocation, with the goal of helping young women live their best lives.

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