Pregnancy is certainly one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, but it can also be one of the most uncomfortable as far as the digestive system is concerned. All of the hormonal changes going on can lead to a number of digestive woes that include constipation, indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, and belching – among other things. Here are some of the most common digestive problems during pregnancy and some tips on getting relief.
Constipation is the most commonly reported digestive issue during pregnancy, and it occurs due to the pressure the growing uterus exerts on the bowel and the effect that hormones can have on bowel muscles. What’s more, if you’re taking an iron-fortified prenatal vitamin, this can only add to the discomfort. To resolve it, be sure that you drink plenty of fluids, eat foods that are high in fiber, exercise regularly, and avoid foods that are overly processed or high in sugar as this can worsen the condition.
Gas (Flatulence and Belching)
Flatulence and belching are both caused by an overabundance of gas. Flatulence occurs when gas builds up in the large intestine, while belching is the expulsion of gas from the stomach. In some cases, relieving constipation also relieves these issues by default. In others, you may need to change your diet during your pregnancy in order to avoid them. Omitting things like onions, beans, fried foods, broccoli, eggs, and Brussels sprouts can make a noticeable difference.
Indigestion, sometimes referred to as “sour stomach”, is the result of hormonal changes and the pressure that the growing womb puts on the stomach. In short, it results from the stomach’s inability to efficiently break down the foods you eat. It can make you feel incredibly full or even nauseated. Oftentimes, simple behavioral changes are all it takes to resolve indigestion during pregnancy. Eating foods that are easily broken down and taking small bites before chewing them thoroughly can help.
Though an old wives’ tale claims that heartburn is a sure sign of a baby full of hair, any pregnant woman can tell you that she would rather have a bald baby than deal with the stabbing and burning associated with heartburn. Though changing your diet to avoid spicy, acidic, and fried foods may help somewhat. If your heartburn continues, especially when you lie down to sleep, try propping up the head of your bed on cinder blocks. This simple act can make a world of difference. If it doesn’t, your doctor may be able to prescribe you a safe antacid to use when your heartburn is at its worst.
Digestive problems certainly seem to be the bane of pregnant women everywhere, but they don’t have to plague you for the entire nine months you are with child. Simple changes to your diet and behaviors are often all it takes to relieve the pain, the bloating, and the gas that are caused by a combination of your food choices, your hormones, and the precious bundle of joy growing inside of your body.
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