Q. I am three months pregnant and have extreme heartburn. What can I do about this? I'm miserable.
A. The horror-mones of pregnancy do throw a lot of bodily functions out of whack, including triggering massive production of stomach acids and relaxing the reflux muscle, which usually keeps the acids where they belong.
During pregnancy, I found my heartburn to be most volatile when I had an empty stomach, immediately after a meal, and while lying down. The relief methods I found most helpful included: having frequent, small meals so my stomach would never be completely empty; taking plenty of Tums antacid (the orange cream flavor was my favorite); and limiting my fluid intake before bedtime so the stomach juices would not spill out while I was lying down. During pregnancy, most doctors will only recommend taking Tums antacid, but in the last few weeks you may be allowed something stronger, such as Mylanta, if you have real problems with heartburn.