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Health During Pregnancy

Important signs to watch for if you are pregnant [hide]
  • Bad cramps or stomach pains that don't go away.
  • Bleeding or a trickle or gush of fluid from your vagina.
  • Lower back pain/pressure or change in lower back pain.
  • A feeling that the baby is pushing down.
  • Contractions or change in the strength or number of them.
  • An increase in the amount of vaginal discharge.
  • Fever, chills, dizziness, vomiting or a bad headache.
  • Blurry vision or spots before your eyes.
  • Sudden or severe swelling of your feet, hand or face.
  • A significant change in your baby's movements.

Go to a hospital right away and contact your doctor/midwife if you have any of these symptoms!

Adapted with permission from:
Best Start: Ontario's Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre

Last Reviewed: April 2017

Taking Care of Yourself

Common concerns

Managing nausea & vomiting | Coping with heartburn | Constipation & pregnancy | Exercising safely | Sex during pregnancy | Emotional changes | Sleep During Pregnancy |

Coping with heartburn

What is heartburn?

Heartburn or "reflux" is a common complaint during pregnancy. It is a burning feeling in the lower part of the chest behind your breastbone. You may have the feeling of food coming back into your mouth, with a sour or bitter taste. Heartburn does not mean that anything is wrong with your heart.

What causes heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when the valve between the stomach and the food pipe (esophagus) is unable to prevent the stomach acids from passing back into the esophagus. Pregnancy has the tendency to increase the frequency of heartburn because the hormone progesterone causes the valve to relax. This allows the stomach acid to pass into the esophagus and irritate the lining.

Heartburn and indigestion are more common during the third trimester because the developing baby tends to put pressure on the intestines and the stomach. The pressure on the stomach may push contents back up into the esophagus.

Heartburn can be a serious problem if it prevents you from eating well.

Symptoms of heartburn

  • Burning feeling in your chest after you eat large amounts of food (e.g., after a complete meal)
  • Burning feeling in your chest when you lie down, bend over, or exercise
  • Backing up of sour or bitter material into your throat and mouth, especially when you lie down or sleep
  • Bloating and belching
  • Feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food
  • Stomach pain


What helps - how to avoid heartburn

  • Eat small meals frequently (5-6 small meals per day)
  • Eat slowly, chew food well and eat in a relaxed atmosphere
  • Drink fluids between meals instead of with meals
  • Avoid spicy, high-fat foods, high-sugar foods or foods that contain caffeine
  • Avoid caffeinated and/or carbonated beverages
  • Avoid lying down for at least 1-2 hours after eating to reduce reflux
  • Go for a walk after eating
  • Raise the head of your bed so you are not lying flat on your back
  • Avoid bending after eating
  • Wear loose fitting clothes

Do not take antacids without talking to your doctor/midwife.

For more information:

Region of Peel - Public Health
905-799-7700
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse

Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216



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Revised: Monday June 26 2017

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