One of the most frequent discomforts I hear about during pregnancy is heartburn. It is caused by the hormone progesterone, which slows digestion, and by the baby growing and pressing on the internal organs, reducing the amount of space available. I am often asked is how to reduce heartburn in prenatal yoga, and if yoga can reduce heartburn in general. The answer is a bit complicated. Let’s dive a bit deeper and explore how to reduce pregnancy heartburn.
How to Reduce Heartburn
There are a whole host of things that may help manage heartburn during pregnancy. These are some that I recommend to students in prenatal yoga, as well as doula clients:
- eat smaller portions at each meal, and more frequent meals to ensure enough nutrients are being consumed during the day
- avoid acidic foods like citrus fruits and spicy foods
- try to eat your last meal of the day well before going to bed
- stay upright, or even better, go for a walk after eating
- do not eat right before attending a yoga or other movement based activity (other than simple walking)
- drink lots of water
Here are some yoga specific recommendations:
- avoid poses that compress the stomach further, such as forward folding or child’s pose without adequate support
- avoid poses in which the heart is higher than the head, or use additional supports to adjust the poses which are in this category if they are beneficial for another reason
- practice poses that stretch and lengthen the torso to help create more space and improve digestion
- practice a style of prenatal yoga which is relaxing – when the nervous system is relaxed, digestion is generally improved
When to Speak with Your Healthcare Practitioner
As you can see, heartburn is a complicated issue which is sometimes unavoidable during pregnancy. Like many pregnancy related discomforts, there are many things that could be done to minimize heartburn, some of which may be found in prenatal yoga. If none of these suggestions reduces the incidence of this particular discomfort, be sure to speak with your care provider about supplements that are safe during pregnancy to cool the burn.
If you are interested in signing up for prenatal yoga classes in Bradford, Ontario, please visit my Prenatal Yoga Page for upcoming dates and times, and to book your session.