Pregnancy and heartburn go hand-in-hand pretty much as closely as pickles and ice cream. It's a common symptom and a real pain in the you-know-what, but thanks to that dirty rat hormone, progesterone, which causes the valve between the esophagus and stomach to relax, you're bound to experience a little heartburn, especially during the third trimester.
Gee, and you thought the morning sickness and swollen feet were enough motherly dues to pay? Ha ha, just wait until pregnancy heartburn finds you. And yes, you may have experienced it in the first trimester. I believe I felt the burn almost every day, including profuse vomiting, during the first trimester. But by the third trimester? I burped every day thanks to my little friend, pregnancy heartburn.
Stage One: It's Not So Bad
This is the stage of heartburn in which a little Tums or strategic eating can soothe that wicked burn that travels up your esophagus. You might stop eating spicy foods. Suddenly, those unhealthy pizza pockets you have been craving might look a little evil to you. When your friends and your partner order Mexican food, you secretly give them the middle finger under the table out of jealousy, but don't worry: you can blame the pregnancy hormones for your crass behavior.
You also might start drinking more milk. You might wait an hour to lie down before eating food. You might start eating more frequent meals. Either way, it's not so bad and a few antacids make things "a-OK" in your digestive track again. This of course means that post-Tums, you might sneak those pizza pockets and wait a whole other hour to go to bed, but whatever. It's worth it!
All is right with the world. Until . . .
Stage Two: It Sort of Sucks
Then there's stage two in which pregnancy heartburn sort of sucks. Every time you eat, you burp or feel that wicked burn of fire. You start to wonder if you speak aloud if fire might emit from your breath, and with your hormones raging, quite a few people might get a metaphorical dose of your verbal fire! Worse, you might "vurp," which is my term for vomit that happens when you burp. Once the "vurping" happens, you start talking to everyone from a distance to hide the nasty habit lest someone thinks you're making a hideous face at him or her because of something the person said. Almost anything you eat could set you off, but you're holding out hope that perhaps a prescription for Zantac might do the trick.
This is also when the bed habits change. You ask your partner to put stuff under the bed to raise your head up so you can sleep more easily. Your partner almost breaks a disc trying to elevate the bed and you don't feel bad because the vurping is so bad that you hate almost everyone.
Stage Three: Your Body LAUGHS in the Face of Antacids
You cannot sleep lying down. In fact, you have slept in a recliner for weeks on end. You watch bad television night after night, while your partner softly sleeps upstairs peacefully and you sort of feel like you're on the edge of murder. To mask the fact that you haven't slept all trimester, you start wearing gaudy, loud makeup, and no one recognizes you anymore.
You don't get out a "Hello" to anyone without greeting them with a hideous burp and at this point, you don't even try to hide it. Instead, you just blame the baby and move forward. Your friends recommend every natural and homeopathic way of treatment for your heartburn and you laugh inside your head, thinking, "Oh, I tried guava enzyme already, lady. Cut me a break." You might actually start saying this under your breath in order to hide your heartburn rage. Bottom line? The idea of eating is trauma-inducing.
Your OBGYN recommended a medication for you, and guess what? It doesn't work.
So then your OBGYN recommends a different one, and guess what? It doesn't work.
You call the OBGYN so much, people start to wonder if you are forming an inappropriate attachment to your OB.
You have imagined your baby will have a head full of thick hair thanks to that old wives' tale that heartburn in pregnancy equals a baby with a head full of hair. You will then cry when your baby comes out bald and you realize that people told you that so you might stop complaining about your heartburn.
The good news is when your baby is born, he or she is so cute you forgive that little "firestarter" right at the first hello!