Digestion and Pregnancy

Pregnant women can experience quite a few digestive issues as they progress through pregnancy. Here are just a few that you may or may not be aware of.

* Morning sickness – It’s a combination of nausea and vomiting that happens to many women during the first trimester of pregnancy. It usually occurs in the morning and can be triggered by smells, eating certain foods or just getting out of bed and letting your feet hit the floor. By the second trimester, the morning sickness has passed for most.

To help manage your morning sickness, try eating a small amount of food to settle your stomach, like saltine crackers and water. Also get moving. Exercise can help you to combat the nausea.

* Heartburn – Even if you have never had heartburn before, you may experience it now. As the baby shifts, your organs move also to make more room. This can push on the stomach which in turn pushes some of the stomach acid back up into the esophagus. You’ll feel that telltale burning sensation in your chest.

A solution to pregnancy heartburn is to eat smaller meals. If less stomach acid is churning, there is less chance of it entering the esophagus. Also, try not to eat right before bed. This can cause heartburn in anyone, but it can become particularly bad when you are pregnant.

* Flatulence – No one wants to have gas even when they are pregnant. Hormones in the body relax musculature and can slow the process of digestion in the intestines. This can lead to more gas as a result of food moving at a snail's pace through your system.

For an already tight belly full of baby, gas can add just enough bloat to make you really uncomfortable. If you are dealing with gas, try wearing loose-fitting clothing. This can prevent pain. Also, avoid foods that can increase gas production like carbonated soda and cruciferous veggies.

* Constipation – With baby moving about, you may have bouts of constipation. If it is hard to pass a stool, try drinking more water. Usually constipation is a result of not enough water in your system. That, in conjunction with pregnancy hormones, can make you miserable. Ingesting additional fiber can help food to pass easier and more efficiently through the digestive tract.

As a pregnant woman, you will be happy to carry a new life inside of you. But, that new life brings with it a host of internal changes that can make you less than happy much of the time. Ask your doctor about ways to help control your digestive system beyond what is mentioned here.