*This is a paid post in partnership with Rennie®.*
I clearly remember the first time I had heartburn. I was having a great time with my friend Adeline on a girly getaway. Madeira was beautiful, warm and the food there was incredible! I was six months’ pregnant with my first baby and we were walking back to our hotel after a great day exploring Funchal.
I had a sudden shot of pain through my heart and thought I might be having some sort of cramp towards my heart. For a moment, I even wondered if it might be the onset of a heart attack. Thankfully, Adeline knew exactly what was wrong and reassured me immediately. We stopped at the pharmacy on the way to our room and I spent the rest of my pregnancy trying to find ways to relieve heartburn.
Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your pharmacist or doctor before taking any medicine in pregnancy.
Rather than waffling on about heartburn, I thought it might be wise to start with the NHS’ definition:
“Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat (acid reflux). If it keeps happening, it’s called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).”
Is it really heartburn?
Just in case you’re not sure what you’re experiencing is heartburn, here are the most common symptoms:
- A burning sensation towards the middle of your chest, behind your breastbone
- Stomach acid causing a bitter taste in your throat
- Pains in the chest after eating or when bending over or lying down
What causes heartburn?
In layman terms, heartburn happens when the valve at the entrance of your stomach doesn’t close tightly, allowing stomach acid to rise up towards your throat.
It usually happens after meals, when you go to bed or during the night and it can last for hours and hours.
Heartburn can be caused or exacerbated by a number of things, including:
- eating food on the go
- being overweight
- certain food like chocolate or a spicy meal
- fizzy drinks
- some painkillers like ibuprofen
I’d never experienced heartburn until my first pregnancy, but ever since I started growing babies, I’ve regularly suffered from the awful burning sensation in my chest. The last term of every single one of my pregnancies was definitely heartburn-central. Hay fever also appeared out of nowhere when I was pregnant with girls! These days, I tend to suffer from bloating and heartburn when I am away from home for a few days and eat too much ‘beige’ food.
How can you relieve the symptoms of heartburn and have a happy tummy?
Here are a few things you can try to relieve the symptoms of heartburn when you DO get it:
- Stay away from cigarette smoke
- Avoid alcohol
- Stand up straight
- Eat small meals regularly rather than three large meals
- Try to relax (sit up straight and meditate for 10 minutes or practise yoga regularly)
- Place an extra couple of pillows under your mattress to ensure your head and chest are higher than your waist (to avoid stomach acid travelling up to your throat)
- Wear loose clothes
- Try over-the-counter antacids
- If your BMI (body mass index) is over 25, try to get to a healthier weight
If you are worried or keep getting heartburn, make sure you seek medical advice from a professional.
– This post is an advert for Rennie® but all copy and photos are my own. When symptoms strike, Rennie® provides a range of fast-acting, effective treatments that help to relieve heartburn and indigestion so you can get on with your life. Rennie® comes in a wide range of flavours and packs, and has been a remedy for more than 85 years: Rennie Peppermint for heartburn and indigestion. Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension. Rennie Heartburn, Indigestion & Wind Relief Chewable Tablets. Always read the label.
– Please note that although these tips are tried-and-tested methods to relieve heartburn or acid reflux, I have no medical background, so it’s always wise to get an opinion from your doctor if you are feeling unwell.