Digestive problems are all very common during pregnancy, and they may be caused by the rapid changes that pregnancy brings about due to various reasons like the hormones, your eating habits or even the pressure a growing baby puts on your intestines.
Common Digestive Problems During Pregnancy
Here are some common digestive problems you face during pregnancy:
Due to the hormonal changes as well as the pressure on your colon due to the growing baby, your bowels do not move as smoothly, and digestion may also be slowed down, contributing to this problem further.
2. Heartburn and nausea
The hormones relax your food pipe’s sphincter muscle which normally keeps stomach acid in place. But when this muscle relaxes, the stomach acid rushes up your food pipe and causes heartburn that is a combination of nausea and a pain or discomfort in your chest.
You’re likely to experience all these symptoms and more during this time, but if you take care of yourself, eat the right foods and follow some simple tips, you don’t have to suffer.
Tips To Handle Digestive Problems During Pregnancy
1. Drink Enough Water
You already know that it’s important to drink enough water. It keeps your digestion going and avoids indigestion and constipation. It’s also important to stay hydrated as it keeps you energized, and keeps your skin and hair healthy. Drinking 8-10 glasses or around 2.5 liters of water a day is beneficial and even necessary.
2. Eat fiber-rich foods
Fiber is an important part of digestion, and you should eat enough fiber everyday in your meals and this is all the more important when you’re pregnant, because digestion becomes slower during pregnancy due to the pressure of the growing baby on your intestinal tract. To get fiber, eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Fiber helps to keep your bowels moving.
3. Eat probiotic foods
Foods like yogurt are probiotic in nature - they balance the gut microbes so that your intestines are healthy and digestion can continue smoothly. Probiotics also help to fight bacteria that causes digestive problems in the first place. Yogurt also helps cool your stomach and handle heartburn in some cases. There is no recommended dosage of probiotics, but a balanced diet should contain at least one serving of such foods a day.
4. Mealtime tips
Eat small meals frequently, especially during the last trimester. This is because as the baby grows and pushes on organs, you might have reduced space in your stomach for food and your appetite may drop. However, to continue nourishing yourself and your baby without feeling too full, you should eat small meals often. This also avoids heartburn. Moreover, chew well, and avoid lying down immediately after your meal.
5. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are usually full of refined carbohydrates, sugar and unhealthy fats, which can slow down digestion. Moreover, they hold no nutritional value and in some cases, can aggravate symptoms like nausea, bloating or constipation. Make sure to include plenty of natural foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk and yogurt in your diet to make the best of your food as well as keep your gut and your baby healthy.
6. Stay Active
It’s important to stay active during your pregnancy. This does not mean that you have to do a lot of rigorous workouts, but even the simple act of taking a walk for 30 minutes a day makes a huge difference, because activity stimulates blood flow and digestion, encouraging better bowel movements. So if you’re struggling with bloating or constipation, get active.
7. Tackle Stress
Stress aggravates digestive problems even when you’re not pregnant. So the effect will only be greater when you are. Stress can give you heartburn as well as slow down your digestion. So manage your stress and try to relax as much as possible. You can try listening to soft music, or do some meditation with a focus on deep breathing. Prenatal yoga also helps relax your body and mind.
You should also speak to your doctor before you take any medication or supplements to handle these symptoms, because the medications that normally work can work differently or threaten the baby during pregnancy. A balanced or healthy diet which is nutrient-dense, as well as some lifestyle adjustments and mealtime tweaks can help with most of these digestive problems you experience.
Take care of yourself during this time. What are some tips that helped you deal with your pregnancy digestion problems? Help out the other mommies here and let them know!