February 16, 2017

Early Pregnancy Signs: Heartburn and Indigestion


When it comes to recognizing early signs of pregnancy, every woman is different and there will be various indicators long before any visual confirmation. One of these potential signs of early pregnancy is heartburn and indigestion.

Are Heartburn and Ingestion Signs of Early Pregnancy?

Yes. Heartburn and indigestion are common signs of early pregnancy, particularly if you don’t typically suffer from acid reflux or experience frequent indigestion after consuming common foods and drinks.  

Why Do Pregnant Women Get Heartburn During Early Pregnancy?

When a woman becomes pregnant, the levels of progesterone in her body rise and remain elevated for the duration.  These increased levels of progesterone result in the relaxing of the stomach valve leading back to the esophagus, allowing an increased amount of stomach acid to enter the throat and thus causing that burning sensation we all associate with acid reflux.

These additional hormones due to pregnancy also cause a woman’s digestion to slow to allow her body – and the baby’s – to absorb more nutrients.  This can also result in food lingering in the stomach longer than normal, causing increased stomach agitation and heartburn, a symptom that is only exacerbated by the growing womb crowding the abdomen.

When Does Heartburn Start in Pregnancy?

Heartburn starts in the first trimester, for many women, beginning around month two, and is a pregnancy symptom that lasts throughout the nine months.

Symptoms of Indigestion and Heartburn in Early Pregnancy

The common heartburn symptoms reported by pregnant women include a burning feeling in the chest just behind the breastbone that occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes to several hours.

How to Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy

If you are experiencing the symptoms of heartburn unexpectedly and more frequently, try minimizing consumption of spicy and acidic foods and beverages, avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible, and opt for dairy products high in calcium or probiotics to help alleviate discomfort.  Most importantly, though, if the symptoms of heartburn do not subside or you believe you may be pregnant consult a primary care physician as soon as possible and consider the additional resources offered by Baptist Health for expecting mothers.

Learn More About Heartburn and Early Pregnancy with Baptist Health

One thing stays the same no matter where you find yourself in Baptist Health: Our team is committed to providing a high level of patient-centered care before, during, and after your baby is born.

Learn More.