Acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease) during pregnancy

esophagus reflux 3

Reflux doctor call it acid reflux is when the acid that is normally found in your stomach backs up into your esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Another term for acid reflux is “gastroesophageal reflux disease,” or GERD.

Many women get acid reflux during pregnancy. Acid reflux usually gets worse over the course of the pregnancy. It usually goes away after the baby is born.

Women who have acid reflux in one pregnancy are likely to get it again in future pregnancies.

The most common symptoms of acid reflux during pregnancy are:

  • Burning in the chest, known as heartburn
  • Burning in the throat or an acid taste in the mouth
  • Stomach or chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A raspy voice or sore throat
  • A cough
  • Probably not. Your Reflux doctor should be able to tell if you have it by talking with you and doing an exam.


Yes. To help with your symptoms, you can:

  • Avoid lying down within 3 hours of eating.
  • Avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes.
  • Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse. Foods that commonly make acid reflux worse are coffee, cola, tea, citrus foods, chocolate, and fatty foods. Read more about the food here.
  • Raise the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). You can do this by putting blocks of wood or rubber under 2 legs of the bed or using a Styrofoam wedge under your pillow.

Yes. There are 4 main types of medicines that can reduce acid reflux symptoms. They are:

  • Antacids
  • Surface agents
  • Histamine blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors

All of these medicines work by reducing or blocking stomach acid. But each of them does that in a different way (table) .

Reflux Doctors usually recommend that pregnant women first try antacids to reduce their symptoms. Most antacids are considered safe in pregnancy, but some are not. If you are pregnant, do not take antacids that contain sodium bicarbonate and magnesium trisilicate. You can buy antacids without a prescription.

If antacids don’t help enough, let your Reflux doctor know. He or she might recommend that you try a surface agent, histamine blocker, or proton pump inhibitor. These medicines work better than antacids to reduce symptoms. You can buy most histamine blockers and proton pump inhibitors without a prescription.

Before you use any over-the-counter medicines for acid reflux, talk to your Reflux doctor. He or she can tell you which ones are safe to use during pregnancy.

Call your Reflux doctor if you:

  • Have severe heartburn or chest pain, or these symptoms don’t get better with treatment
  • Have a fever, headache, nausea, or vomiting with your heartburn
  • Choke when you eat, have trouble swallowing, or feel like food is getting “stuck” on the way down your throat
  • Lose weight without trying
  • Vomit bright red blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Have bowel movements that look like black tar

Read more about Acid reflux in Adults & Children.

Read more from other reputed sites: 1 & 2.

Dr. Harsh J Shah