Could a Pillow End Heartburn During Pregnancy?

Heartburn during pregnancy is never, ever fun. But we just may have found the unusual item that can make that achy, burning feeling a thing of the past.

Could a Pillow End Heartburn During Pregnancy? Daniel_Dash/Shutterstock

Heartburn has a nasty habit of rearing its ugly head during pregnancy—but then again, if you've experienced it, we don't need to tell you that. What we do need to tell you about is a new product that just might calm that awful scorching feeling once and for all.

The product in question is a pillow that, interestingly enough, is shaped like a candy cane. It is formed with an incline wedge, which can elevate you and help keep you sleeping comfortably on your left side—two great ways to prevent heartburn from (literally) surfacing.

The pillow is being developed by the Cleveland Clinic and is doing quite well in product testing. The clinic sampled 17 pregnant women, who reportedly experienced a 65 percent reduction in symptoms and a 49 percent increase in overall sleep quality.

"Invariably, women develop reflux at the end of pregnancy and have very disrupted sleep," Cleveland Clinic gastroenterologist Scott Gabbard, M.D., said. "This is one of the first therapies that have shown to be effective for pregnant patients, both with reflux and with sleep quality. We're very excited about this."

Here's how it works: as the uterus expands, the stomach's contents (including digestive acids) can travel to the esophagus, which can lead to nausea and—you guessed it—that awful burning sensation in your throat and chest. Researchers from the clinic found that sleeping on your left side can stop the stomach's contents from reaching the esophagus, which explains how the pillow might be so effective. Since pregnant women are discouraged from taking medicines that stop gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, this could represent a much safer alternative remedy.

"Any time we can find an alternative to medications, that's a good thing," Dr. Gabbard said.

In light of this, the team is hoping to secure insurance coverage for the pillow system. Testing is still ongoing, but keep your eyes peeled: if you're dealing with nasty heartburn, this pillow could be exactly what you need in your life.

Check out the pillow here.