Are you 22 weeks pregnant and experiencing heartburn? Want some quick and easy tips from an expert for minimising heartburn? Then this blog is for you!
By the sixth month of pregnancy, your baby is now the size of a coconut. You will really be starting to show now, and as your baby grows back pain will continue to worsen and heartburn will increase. Heartburn, or gastro-oesophageal reflux as it is correctly titled, is when acid comes up into your food pipe, giving you a sharp burning pain in your throat and chest. It’s caused by the pressure of your baby on your diaphragm and will continue to increase as your baby grows.
Have you been on the scales lately? Remember to weigh in every month to track your progress. If you are gaining too much weight, make an appointment with your dietitian now to identify some strategies to get back on track.
To minimise the symptoms of heartburn, try eating small, regular meals, as big meals will make them much worse. If you haven’t already given up smoking and alcohol, you should know that smoking and alcohol make heartburn much worse. I also recommend you avoid lying down on a full stomach. Wait for a couple of hours after eating before you go to bed at night or lie down for a nap. You may like to prop yourself up in bed with a few extra pillows as your symptoms get worse.
A few other tips for minimising heartburn include avoid eating very hot and very cold foods, such as ice cream or hot soup. Milk is often soothing as it helps to settle the acid in your stomach, so try drinking a small glass of skim milk after dinner when heartburn is usually at its worst.
During month 6, you will need to have your glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes. This is another reason to be eating small, regular meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. Small, regular meals help to spread your carbohydrate load across the day, which assists in regulating your production of insulin and decreasing the risk of diabetes. Ideally, you should be eating every three to five hours. Remember to include some protein and vegetables with each meal, rather than just filling up on big bowls of pasta or rice, which need loads of insulin to break down the carbohydrates in them. It is important to include wholegrain foods in your diet, but you don’t want to eat large amounts of them all at once.
A good guide is to limit yourself to two serves of carbohydrate containing foods at each meal or snack, and three at breakfast, after you have been fasting all night. Carbohydrate containing foods include dairy foods, fruit, starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato or corn), wholegrains and treat foods. An example might be a sandwich made with two slices of bread (2 servings of carbohydrates), tuna and salad (no carbohydrates) for lunch, and a piece of fruit (1 serve of carbohydrate) and a tub of yoghurt (1 serve of carbohydrate) for morning tea.
Exercise is also essential for your blood glucose levels, so make the most of your increased energy levels and undertake at least 45 minutes of exercise every day. This is not a time for exercising to improve your performance, but to get more in touch with your body. As your baby impacts your lung capacity, you may not be able to exercise at the same intensity that you were before, but don’t give up. Something is better than nothing. Ideally, aim for more endurance exercise – a long, slow relaxing swim rather than a quick dash in the pool.
As you are walking or swimming or cycling or dancing, use this time to meditate and help you prepare for labour. Notice your breathing, and exercise at a pace where you can control it. Notice your temperature, your heartbeat and tension in any muscles. Control your stress levels and focus on positive things such as the feeling of the wind in your hair, the stiffness slowly working its way out of your body and your ability to control your breathing.
If you are lifting weights, you may find that you need to drop the weight of them at around this time. Weights are great for toning, but as your joints loosen you need to beware of potential injuries. Take extra care with your technique and strap any joints that trouble you, particularly joints where you’ve had previous injuries.
To help you eat a healthier diet during your pregnancy, I’ve put together a 7 day pregnancy meal plan. It’s got a range of options that you can mix and match to suit your likes and dislikes. To download it now, all you have to do is click here!
See you again soon!
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