I am one of those people that gets heartburn the minute I have a positive test, and it lasts until the birth. And it is BAD. Crying bad. I've wondered about damage to my esophagus because it is so constant and so bad when I'm pregnant. And I looooooove spicy food.
So here are my suggestions:
1) When you eat a meal, try NOT to drink a lot of fluids at the same time. Drink your fluids between meals. The point is to keep from diluting your spicy food in your belly, cause liquidy spicy food will reflux easier than thick spicy food.
2) Snack on almonds. I can't remember what it is about almonds, but they reduce heartburn. And they are good for you.
3) Try papaya tablets. You can get them at your coop. I'd try this before trying a medication, as they are gentler and more natural and for many people they work really well.
4) Most OBs do say Tums are safe. But if you need to eat 20 a day to get relief, I'd think twice about it. Even the maker of Tums
admits there is both lead and aluminum in them, yet they won't admit how much. And I've seen research that says the whole Tums with Calcium is a gimick - your body absorbs calcium best when your stomach is acidic, so eating calcium in the same pill as an antacid means you get very little if any of it.
5) Pepcid Complete
is something else to consider if you get it bad and daily. I resorted to this in my last pregnancy, but really preferred it to eating Tums like candy. The three active ingredients are Famotidine (classs B), calcium carbonate, and magnesium hydroxide (class B). Class B drugs say EITHER animal-reproductive studies have not shown a fetal risk but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women, OR animal studies do show a fetal risk but studies in pregnant women do not show a risk. I felt more comfortable with taking this because I could get relief if I took just ONE pill ever TWO days, versus Tums which I would have been maxing out on every day.
Other general suggestions - don't lay down immediately after eating or drinking lots of fluids. Foods that are more alkaline can help counter the acid problem (figs, tofu, apricots, raisins, almonds, carrots, potatoes, etc).
Hope this helps. I definitely feel your pain.