Q&A with Heather Harrison, D.O.

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1. What can pregnant women do for heartburn? Is there anything we can do to prevent it?

There are several over the counter medications that you can use for heartburn. Usually I recommend that you start with Tums or Rolaids, they can be used several (4-6) times during the day as needed. If you are still having heartburn frequently then next you should try Zantac 150 mg twice a day or Pepcid 20 mg twice a day, you can still use Tums during that time as well. If this is still not cutting it for your heartburn then you should speak with your physician regarding a prescription for heartburn medication (i.e. Prevacid). Try to limit spicy and fatty food as they may trigger the heartburn. Also doing small, frequent meals is beneficial.

2. I have a shooting pain down my right leg. I think it's my sciatic nerve. What is that? Is there anything they can do to help it?

Low Back pain and sciatic pain (aka Piriformis Syndrome) is common in pregnancy as your body is getting used to the change in your center of gravity as this little one grows. Sciatic pain is usually due to irritation of the sciatic nerve that exits in your lower back, through the muscles in you buttocks. The best thing you can do is daily stretching and remaining active during your pregnancy. One of the best stretches is sitting upright with one leg bent and crossed over the other leg that is straight, then lean forward into the bent leg, you should feel a pull in your buttocks. You can always use heat (20 minutes at a time) and ice. Tylenol if really uncomfortable. I often refer for evaluation and treatment by Chiropractor if still having trouble. I have included links to a website that I use that reviews the exercises that are helpful. (Obviously the ones that you lay on your stomach do not work during pregnancy).


3. Is there any magic trick to prevent stretch marks? Is there anyway to get rid of them?

Stretch marks . . . Unfortunately there is not a magic trick, except picking the right genetics. About 90% of women get stretch marks with pregnancy. They can be on the abdomen, legs, thighs, breasts, and buttocks. There are several lotions available that can be helpful, but not a guarantee. I often recommend trying AmLactin, Cocoa Butter (there are several different brand name products available), and Vitamin E. The stretch marks usually fade over time. Continuing to use the lotions after pregnancy can be helpful. There are cosmetic treatments available if your stretch marks are still bothersome after you are all done having babies (i.e. Laser).

Dr. Heather Harrison is a Utah native. She was born in Roosevelt and raised in Orem. She attended medical school at Touro University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Vallejo California and then returned to Utah to do her specialty training in Family Medicine at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. Dr. Harrison enjoys the opportunities that Family Medicine gives her to take care of the family from pregnancy to birth, and childhood through the adult years with all the bumps in between. She joined Grandview Family Medicine in July of 2007. Dr. Harrison enjoys gardening, traveling, biking, softball, and spending time with her husband and 4 yr old daughter.

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