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Heart Burn and C-Sections: How to Deal with these Common Pregnancy Concerns

Whether you are a first time expectant mother or expecting another child, you’ve likely had the same concerns as these mothers. Stay calm and read on.


I’m nervous about my impending C-section. What can I expect?

Every year, 25 to 35 per cent of babies in Singapore are delivered by caesarean section. It is a major operation, which can be performed under general anaesthesia (where you are completely unconscious during the whole procedure) or regional anaesthesia (where only the lower half of your body is numb).

With regional anaesthesia, you’ll be awake during the surgery and won’t feel pain; you can probably hold your baby right away, too.

Compared to mums who’ve had vaginal births, your hospital stay will usually last a day longer. While you lie in bed recovering, try to exercise your lower legs to reduce the risk of blood clots developing in your legs. Depending on your condition, you may be given antibiotics to lower the risk of infection.

Most C-section mums experience tenderness around the incision. If your gynae prescribes painkillers to help, you’ll probably be able to get out of bed and move around within a day or two after giving birth.

Take it easy and avoid strenuous activities; the pain will subside after about two weeks.

Why do I get a burning feeling in my chest after meals?

This sensation is known as heartburn, but it has nothing to do with your heart. Rather, it is due to gastric reflux – acids from your stomach travel up to your oesophagus (the tube through which food travels from the mouth to the stomach), which lies in the chest.

A sphincter in the lower oesophagus acts as a gate, preventing gastric acids from escaping upwards. But during pregnancy, hormonal changes make this sphincter less effective.

Heartburn is common and can happen in any trimester. Nonetheless, you can reduce the symptoms by watching your diet – stay away from food that is fried, sour and spicy, as well as caffeinated drinks.

Avoid lying down right after a meal, eat slowly, and instead of taking three big meals, eat small frequent ones.

Another trick: prop yourself up on two pillows, or a higher one, when resting. If the symptoms persist, ask your gynae to prescribe anti-reflux medication.

ASK THE EXPERT: These questions were answered by Dr Goh Shen Li, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in S L Goh Women’s Clinic at Mount Alvernia Medical Centre D. Got a question? E-mail us at magyoungparents@sph.com.sg.

Keeping fit during pregnancy can be a great way to feel good and meet new mums-to-be. Try these!

Young Parents, August 2015

Photo: 123rf.com

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