Q:

What could cause a burning sensation in your stomach while you are pregnant?

A:

A burning sensation in the stomach during pregnancy is usually caused by heartburn, according to WebMD. Heartburn is also called acid reflux and is most commonly experienced after a meal.

The pregnant body produces larger amounts of the progesterone hormone. This hormone relaxes all the muscles in the body including those in the lower esophagus, according to WebMD. These muscles are responsible for keeping food and acids contained in the stomach. When they are relaxed, some of the stomach acid can be pushed outside the stomach as a condition called acid reflux or heartburn. This causes a burning sensation that extends from the chest all the way through the body and sometimes even down to the bowels.

Eating smaller meals frequently during the day, staying away from acidic, oily and spicy foods, and avoiding lying down immediately after a meal can reduce the burning sensations caused by heartburn, according to WebMD.

Other ways to reduce heartburn include wearing loose clothes and not drinking water during a meal, as this can distend the stomach even more, according to What to Expect. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should eat slowly, and chew each mouthful well. Eating too fast causes air to be swallowed along with the food, which can form pockets of gas, suggests What to Expect. Burping up this air adds to the unpleasantness of acid reflux.

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