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Expert advice for mamas: Natural ways to manage heartburn in pregnancy

No worries about the recall of Zantac, West End Mamas founder and NewmarketToday columnist Sarah Mickeler provides advice to minimize and manage that painful burning feeling
File photo/Village Media

By now, you’ve likely heard that Zantac, a popular heartburn medication, has been recalled due to low levels of potential carcinogens. Understandably, this leaves many pregnant women wondering what to do about the heartburn they may experience. 

Heartburn is common later in pregnancy and happens because progesterone causes the valve at the entrance of the stomach to relax. This leads to stomach acid passing back up the esophagus, causing:

  • A burning sensation in your chest or throat
  • An acidic taste in your mouth
  • Nausea
  • A hoarse voice
  • Coughing

Moreover, as your uterus gets bigger throughout your pregnancy, it causes your stomach to move upward and food and stomach acid can back up into the esophagus leading to the same symptoms. 

Here’s how to minimize and manage your heartburn:


  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Avoid known triggers like greasy and spicy foods, tomatoes, coffee, pop and chocolate
  • Include raw almonds in your diet, as they’re thought to tone the lower esophageal sphincter
  • Avoid large doses of mint (in your tea, essential oils, etc.) because it may relax the lower esophageal sphincter
  • Whenever possible, eat slowly and spend more time chewing your food
  • Drink between your meals, rather than with meals


  • Avoid eating around three hours before bed, as laying down soon after a meal may lead to symptoms
  • When you’re sleeping, try keeping your head elevated to at least a 45-degree angle

Naturopathic Treatments

  • Consider taking a calcium-magnesium liquid supplement. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor to find the best product for you
  • Herbs like marshmallow root, slippery elm, and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) may also be beneficial. Before you purchase one of these herbs, consult with a ND to determine the right dose for you.  

Other Supportive Therapies

  • Acupuncture, chiropractic techniques, and osteopathic techniques may also provide some heartburn relief

Heartburn doesn’t need to get the best of you! We’ve got you covered, mama!

Special thanks for Dr. Alexsia Priolo, one of our fabulous Naturopaths at West End Mamas, for her naturopathic insight for this article.

NewmarketToday columnist Dr. Sarah Mickeler is a chiropractor and founder of West End Mamas, which offers pelvic floor physiotherapy, as well as other vital prenatal and postnatal treatments in its Newmarket and Toronto locations. Its mission is to improve pregnancy, birth and postpartum for all Canadians.