A Pregnant Woman’s Worries about Feeling a Hot Sensation in the Stomach
Feeling a hot sensation in the stomach during pregnancy can be caused by hormonal changes, heartburn, or changes in blood flow. During pregnancy, expectant mothers often experience various discomforts.
This is a common condition for pregnant women to go through. There are several factors that can lead to discomfort, and one of them is feeling a hot sensation in the stomach during pregnancy. Although this condition is normal, it’s important to understand its causes in order to have a comfortable pregnancy.
Causes of Feeling a Hot Sensation in the Stomach During Pregnancy
Feeling a hot sensation in the stomach during pregnancy can be caused by overall body temperature increase, health issues like heartburn or acid reflux, or changes in blood flow. Here are several causes for a pregnant woman’s stomach to feel hot:
- Heartburn Heartburn can be a cause of feeling a hot sensation for pregnant women. This condition occurs due to increased stomach acid, resulting in discomfort, pain, and heat. Stomach acid occurs when there is pressure in the stomach. It is often a result of hormonal changes and the growing size of the fetus, which exerts pressure on the stomach.
- Hormonal Changes Every pregnant woman experiences significant hormonal changes. The sensation of a hot stomach can be attributed to the changes in the hormone progesterone. Increased levels of progesterone during pregnancy can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is located at the junction between the esophagus and the stomach. Without the LES acting as a valve, stomach acid can easily flow back into the esophagus, causing the sensation of heat in the stomach.
- Increased Blood Volume During pregnancy, blood volume and flow increase. In fact, during the later trimester of pregnancy, blood volume can increase by up to 40 percent. This can lead to the pregnant woman’s body feeling warm, especially in the stomach area.
- Gastritis Pregnant women are at a higher risk of experiencing gastric inflammation or gastritis. This can happen when a pregnant woman consumes spicy, acidic, fatty foods, alcohol, or caffeine. Similar to heartburn, gastritis can cause a hot sensation in the stomach, often accompanied by nausea, bloating, and even loss of appetite.
Managing a Hot Sensation in the Stomach During Pregnancy
In some cases, feeling a hot sensation in the stomach is normal. However, it can make pregnant women uncomfortable. There are several ways to manage a hot stomach sensation during pregnancy, such as:
- Adjusting Eating Habits Pregnant women often experience an increased appetite. However, overeating or consuming large meals can lead to a hot sensation in the stomach. It’s advisable to adopt healthier eating habits by consuming smaller, more frequent meals. Avoid eating within 3 hours before bedtime and steer clear of spicy or fatty foods.
- Avoid Alcohol Consumption Alcohol can disrupt digestion, causing not only a hot sensation in the stomach but also posing long-term risks to the baby’s health and the mother’s well-being. Therefore, it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
- Steer Clear of Caffeine For some individuals, coffee can increase stomach acid, leading to a hot sensation and even nausea. Consuming caffeine during pregnancy can also cause constriction of placental blood vessels, potentially reducing blood supply to the fetus and hindering its growth.
- Quit Smoking As known, cigarettes contain various chemicals that can harm health. Smoking can also cause stomach acid to rise more easily due to the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter caused by the chemicals in cigarettes.
- Avoid Tight Clothing When experiencing a hot stomach due to heartburn, wearing loose clothing can help alleviate the discomfort. Tight clothing can exert pressure on the stomach, leading to discomfort. Moreover, wearing tight clothes can also be disruptive for the developing fetus. Therefore, it’s recommended to wear loose clothing to manage heartburn.
- Maintain an Upright Position Avoid lying down after meals, as this can increase pressure within the stomach. Instead, try to keep your head and shoulders elevated to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.
Now that you know the potential causes of feeling a hot sensation in the stomach during pregnancy, if this condition doesn’t improve and other symptoms arise, it’s advisable to seek medical attention.
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- Sanghavi, M., Rutherford, J.D. (2014). Cardiovascular Physiology of Pregnancy. Circulation, 130(12), 1003–1008.
- National Health Service. Indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy.
- Law, R., et al. (2010). Treatment of heartburn and acid reflux associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2010 Feb; 56(2): 143–144.