6 natural remedies for heartburn in pregnancy

Many women experience heartburn in pregnancy, and it's uncomfortable to say the least. Here are some ways to find relief.

Photo credit: Yaroslav Danylchenko / Stocksy United

From morning sickness and back pain to swollen feet and crazy food cravings, pregnancy is known for a wide range of side effects. But one of the most common symptoms, affecting as many as 45 percent of women, is heartburn. This gastrointestinal condition can be so uncomfortable that BabyCenter mom of six Denise Cortes says, "It was the absolute worst part of being pregnant."

"The burping, the feeling of hot acid rising up in my chest, and the nasty taste in my mouth – it was all torture. I can't even count how many times I almost puked in my sleep," she shares. If you're suffering with a case of pregnancy-related heartburn, know that you're not alone. Read on for more about what heartburn feels like when you're expecting and some natural remedies for heartburn to ease the pain.

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What heartburn in pregnancy feels like 

Heartburn in pregnancy usually rears its head thanks to a rise in progesterone. While the hormone relaxes the muscles of your uterus so it can grow and expand for your baby, progesterone often slows down digestion and causes the valve that separates your esophagus from your stomach to relax too, which can cause gastric acid to rise (and your throat to feel like it's burning). You'll know heartburn right away by its telltale symptoms, which can include the following:

  • Painful burning sensation in the chest 

  • Frequent burping

  • Acidic, bitter taste in the mouth

  • Bloating

  • Mild nausea or vomiting

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6 natural remedies for heartburn in pregnancy

Avoiding heartburn triggers like citrus and tomatoes and eating smaller meals when you can, are some of the easiest ways to cut down on heartburn. If you end up getting it anyway, there are some things that can help. 

Some over-the-counter antacids are considered safe to take during pregnancy, but it's always a good idea to check with your doctor first before taking medications. If you'd like to steer clear of the drug store to treat this nagging condition though, you can try these natural remedies:

  1. Milk: A warm glass of nonfat milk with a spoonful of honey mixed in may ease the burn. Full-fat can actually make heartburn worse, but the non-fat version can act as a shield between the stomach's lining and the acid it contains.

  2. Ginger: This funky root has long been a go-to for morning sickness during pregnancy, but it can also do double-duty as a digestive aid, thanks to its alkaline and anti-inflammatory properties, which can relieve some of that irritation in the digestive tract. Try real ginger ale or tea brewed from fresh ginger.

  3. Pineapple: "When I couldn't get it fresh, I swore by bags of frozen pineapple tidbits from Trader Joe's," reports Cortes. The enzymes in this fruit, which are also found in papaya, may help with symptoms. Have a few slices after a meal to help with digestion.

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  4. Yogurt: This creamy snack is another quick and easy dairy option for fighting heartburn, particularly the low-fat type (like milk, it can soothe symptoms).

  5. Raw almonds: These nuts are a healthy pick and a heartburn-fighter, thanks to their low acidity, which helps neutralize stomach acid.

  6. Licorice: Pick this root in pill or liquid form as it can up the mucous coating in the throat, protecting it from all the stomach acid that escapes during a bout of heartburn.

Although heartburn is uncomfortable when pregnant (and even if you aren't pregnant), these natural remedies can provide quick relief. If your heartburn is persistent, talk with your provider and they can definitely help you find the treatment that works best for you. 

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BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2015. Heartburn in pregnancy. a new window [Accessed December 2023]

Mayo Clinic. 2022. Heartburn. a new window [Accessed December 2023]

Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Heartburn during pregnancy. a new window [Accessed December 2023]

Harvard Health Publishing. 2023. Herbal remedies for heartburn. a new window [Accessed December 2023]

Intermountain Health. 2023. Pregnancy Heartburn? 7 Ways to Get Relief. a new window [Accessed December 2023]

Hopkins Medicine. 2023. GERD Diet Foods That Help With Acid Reflux and Heartburn. a new window [Accessed December 2023]

Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York City-based writer, editor, and fact-checker, and the mom of two teen girls. In her free time, Geddes can be found on her yoga mat, cross-country skiing, walking her rescue pup (a shepherd mix named Django), and spending time with her husband and daughters.