Heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester.
Heartburn occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus does not close properly and stomach acid exits the stomach, entering the esophagus. During pregnancy, hormone fluctuations can cause the valve to relax, contributing to an increase in the frequency of heartburn. The growing fetus can also intensify pressure on the stomach, increasing the amount of stomach acid that leaks back to the esophagus.
While common, it is uncomfortable.
Happily, homeopathy can really help.
Here are four homeopathic remedies often found helpful for women suffering with heartburn during pregnancy:
Arsenicum album: An expectant mom might want to think of this homeopathic remedy when she finds herself with burning pains in the stomach region and the sensation that food and drink is lodged in the esophagus. She may feel more distress from eating fruit, acid foods and drinks and from eating ice. Paradoxically, despite burning pains, warm drinks make the person feel better. Typically, someone needing Arsenicum album is chilly, worried, restless and weak – and also tends to feel worse after midnight, often to 2:00AM. They are thirsty, but only for sips of fluids. They feel better from warmth and lying down with the head high.
Mercurius sol: A woman needing this remedy would typically experience heartburn that lasts all night. She often complains of frequent hiccoughs as well as belching that is burning and sour tasting. The pain in the stomach is, like Arsenicum album, burning in nature. A person needing this remedy will have an intense thirst, usually for cold drinks, despite the fact that their mouth seems to have too much saliva. The burning pains in the stomach are often much worse when lying on the right side. The expectant mom may also notice that she’s sweating more at night in bed, and that the sweat provides no relief.
Nux vomica: A person needing this remedy is generally easy to spot. They are much more irritable and cranky than normal and they’re chillier than normal. Burps are sour or bitter, often with the mom-to-be feeling a great urging to burb, but cannot! The belching and heartburn are often worse in the morning before eating, particularly after 4:00 am. Starchy foods can particularly aggravate. The stomach region may also be sensitive to pressure.
Pulsatilla: An expectant mom needing this homeopathic remedy often has a mild, yielding, or good-natured disposition. She can also be someone very sentimental or emotional. Often there will be much belching of gas with a reflux of liquid that has a bad taste and/or smell of food. It can be bitter and sour, and happen particularly in the evening. A person needing this remedy is often thirstless except at meal time. They also tend to be uncomfortable in a warm room, preferring cool open air. They can be worse when lying down.
Remember (particularly if you’re new to homeopathy) the key to choosing the correct/helpful remedy is always the same. One must match the “characteristic symptoms” (i.e., unusual or peculiar) of the person you are caring for (not the common ones like a headache, sore throat, cough, fever, etc.) to a remedy capable of producing similar characteristic symptoms to have success. If you choose a remedy with characteristics most similar to the characteristic symptoms of your family member, you should have a happy outcome every time. If you don't, you or they will either feel no effect or one that is mildly positive at best, but there is never a bad effect from choosing the “incorrect” remedy.
Once you have chosen a remedy that appears to match your symptoms, dose with a 30C or 200C to start by placing one pellet under the tongue or one pellet in water, stirring vigorously and then giving a teaspoon dose as needed. Always cease dosing when relief begins and only redose if symptoms again worsen. It is always advisable to discuss the use of any medicine, including homeopathy, during pregnancy or when nursing, with your licensed practitioner. And as with any medical condition, consult with your physician if you have any concerns about the severity of the problem as it may first require medical diagnosis and/or intervention and monitoring.
Dr. Lisa Samet N.D. is an exceptional homeopath who provides Washington Homeopathic Products with a regular column on using homeopathy for the family. She's a naturopathic physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine and she's a partner with Dr. Andre Saine N.D. Dr. Samet graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and has been practicing in Montreal since then. She was born and raised in New York.
Dr. Samet has chosen to focus on homeopathy because in her experience it is the deepest healing modality available in that it does not just soothe or palliate symptoms but can actually stimulate the body to start to heal itself. Dr. Samet sees patients in her Montreal office as well as long distance using Skype. Learn more here: Dr. Lisa Samet.You can follow her on Facebook as well.