Dealing with Severe Acid Reflux

Around 10 weeks, I got some very mild heartburn. It happened maybe twice a week and would ago away easily with antacids.  I also figured out what foods triggered it pretty quickly. One of the wonderful delights in the Bay Area is garlic fries, but raw/not totally cooked garlic quickly became a no-no. Mainly because your husband will not appreciate going down to the car at 2 AM to get your Tums while staying overnight at his sister’s house.

It started to get a little worse around 20 weeks, but a few more antacids would usually do the trick. We went to my parents’ house for Christmas when I was 26 weeks. I didn’t overeat, but I ate 3 full-sized meals a day, which lead to more nights of me sitting up with horrible heartburn. My mom bought me a bottle of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Drink one day when it was really bad. It helped tame the throat burn, but didn’t really settle my stomach. When I got back home, I started eating smaller meals, which worked great for a few weeks.

Then one night when I was 29 weeks, I woke up coughing and suddenly realized stomach acid was rising in my throat. Michael asked if I was okay, as I was quickly racing out of bed, but all I could was shake my head no. I made it to the bathroom just in time to throw up a bunch of stomach acid. It hurt so bad, I started crying instantly. Michael calmed me down, gave me antacids and soy milk, and helped me prop myself up pretty much vertical in the bed. But my stomach/throat hurt so bad, there was no way I was going back to sleep.

The next day all I could eat was plain toast for breakfast, plain ramen noodles for lunch, and a grilled cheese (vegan) for dinner. Even water upset my stomach and burned my throat. After a few days of this my stomach felt better, but I was getting more dizzy. That Friday I had doctors appointment and brought it up. She said I am probably getting more dizzy because I am not eating enough, which is not good for someone with low blood pressure. She said I could take Zantac everyday from now on. And if that doesn’t help, she will send me to a specialist.

We bought Zantac that night it started working within an hour. I ate a decent dinner that night and felt a lot better. The box says to take 2 pills every 8-12 hours as needed, but when I woke up in the morning I felt fine so I didn’t take one. Half way through work that morning, my throat/stomach were on fire again. I took another one as soon as we got home that night and the relief came back. I decided from now on, I need to just take two everyday so I can eat/drink enough and not be in pain. I have been doing that for a week now and it’s been going well. I hope this treatment sticks, I don’t want to go to a specialist.

Heartburn and acid reflux are common problems during pregnancy. Usually caused by increased hormone levels effecting your digestive system. Or, the baby could be shoving your organs out of the way to make room to grow. My brother actually permanently moved my mom’s esophagus, causing a lot of stomach problems for years to come. Since Jack is measuring big and he is growing more into my body rather than outward, I was expecting this to happen. However, I was not expecting it to this painful!

Here is my advice for anyone else experience severe acid reflux:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals of simple but more nutritious foods. I try for 6 smaller meals every 2-3 hours.  See my food blog here for meal suggestions.
  • Sleep with your head propped up above your stomach. This can be done with pillow, foam wedges, or Dr. Oz. suggests putting something under your actual mattress.
  • Try a bit of apple cider vinegar mixed with some apple juice.
  • Also try some aloe vera juice. It didn’t stop the burn, but afterwards it helped sooth/heal my stomach and throat.
  • For fast acting relief, take a few antacids. I really like Tums Smoothies, taste good and dissolve easier in your mouth.
  • If get’s really bad, ask your doctor what other medicines you can take.

Small Meal Ideas

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I mentioned in my last post that I am suffering from horrible heartburn/acid reflux right now. Guess my little son decided that my stomach was annoying and shoved it out of his way. As a result, I had to start eating 6 to 8 smaller, more simple meals to keep my stomach happy. I thought I would share the list of small meal ideas I came up. These are not only great for heartburn issues. Try them for kid’s lunches, party finger foods, and smaller meals for diets.

Breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal cooked with rice milk with a 1/2 a banana mashed and 3 chopped up dates
  • Smoothie: 1/2 an avocado, splash of apple juice, handful of spinach, and 1/4 cup blackberries
  •  Burrito: 1 warmed medium flour tortilla,  1/2 an avocado, handful of kale,  handful shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter spread on a piece of whole grain toast, and half a banana
Lunch:
  • 1 cup of my Feel Better Vegetable Soup
  • My rice cheese or Soy Cheese Quesadilla , but with salsa or hot sauce
  • Half Sandwich or wrap: 1 medium tortilla or 1 slice of bread, 2 tablespoon avocado, handful of greens, half a handful of shredded carrots, and a bit of stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup of plain cooked lentils over 1/2 cup rice with a bit of kale or spinach
Dinner:
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta, a bit of olive oil, handful of sautee kale or spinach, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 of cup of chopped vegetable salad with a light apple cider vinegar dressing
  • 1/2 cup whole pinto beans, 1/2 cup brown rice
  • A plain Tofu Scramble—light or no spices, no tomatoes, and no onions
Snacks:
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds or cashews
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 8 dates
  • 8 carrots and 2 tablespoons of hummus
  • 1 small apple with 1 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 ounces soy or rice yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber and 1/4 cup whole wheat crackers

And remember to stay away from sugary drinks. Drink as much water as you can. Try coconut water to keep your electrolytes up.  And try some low sugar apple juice with a splash of apple cider vinegar to settle your stomach and soothe your throat.