Heartburn is a common experience for almost all pregnant women, but does heartburn mean labor is almost here? If you're in the final stretch, you're probably hoping the answer is yes. However, the reasons for heartburn during pregnancy don't exactly point to your impending labor.
According to Health, heartburn is common during pregnancy because of the high quantities of the hormone, progesterone. Progesterone relaxes your muscles, which is great for the amount of expansion that happens during pregnancy and getting your body ready for labor. Some muscles, however, feel the not-so-great effects of this relaxing though. Your stomach valve, for one, whose job is to keep acid out of your esophagus, isn't as "alert" as it once was, letting in the heartburn and reflux causing acid.
You might feel heartburn anywhere from the bottom of your chest all the way to your lower throat, and it usually is the strongest in the second half of your pregnancy. But according to Baby Center, it will likely come and go without warning until the end of your pregnancy, but it isn't really an indicator that labor will happen anytime soon. What To Expect noted that heartburn may get worse from weeks 30 to 36 when your growing uterus forces your stomach upward closer to your throat, but if you feel your heartburn worsening, don't get too excited just yet.
Luckily, there are a few ways to provide some relief if you're particularly plagued with heartburn or acid reflux, like avoiding spicy foods, trying smaller portions and eating smaller meals throughout the day, staying propped up after meals (laying down may make it worse,) and maybe even popping in a stick of gum after eating.
Although, for most women, heartburn is one of the "necessary evils" of pregnancy, know that it is a signal that things (ie. your uterus) are growing exactly how and where they're supposed to be.