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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Medical Aspects of Pregnancy > Indigestion and Heartburn

Indigestion and Heartburn

The problems like indigestion, heartburn and constipation are common during pregnancy. They are caused as a result of the changes that your body is undergoing due to pregnancy. Find about the common causes of indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy and tips for coping with these symptoms.

Is constipation or indigestion normal?

Yes. Your body is producing large amounts of progesterone and estrogen, which in turn relax smooth muscle tissues all over, even in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, slowing down the digestive system and resulting in constipation. In addition, with the pressure from the growing uterus falling on the bowels, their normal activity gets inhibited.

What can I do to alleviate constipation?

Firstly change your diet. Increase your fibre intake in terms of fruits and vegetables and cut down on refined foods. Eat 6 small meals instead of 3 large ones and increase your fluid intake. Drink water, fruit and vegetable juices. Warm water with a dash of lime is also known to help.  Lastly, include some mild exercises in your daily routine or go for a brisk walk. If none of this works, ask your doctor for a bulk forming stool softener.

How will indigestion affect my baby?

Your body is producing large amounts of progesterone and estrogen, which in turn relaxes smooth muscle tissue all over even in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The food, therefore, moves slowly through your system, resulting in bloating. But this allows better absorption of nutrients into your blood stream, into the placenta and into your baby's system.  Therefore, although indigestion causes you discomfort, it is good for the baby.

What are the causes for heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy?

Acid refluxes in pregnancy become very common as you make progresses. This becomes particularly very common in the third trimester. Here are discussed the
2 main reasons that results in such discomforts during pregnancy. Read along:
  1. Progesterone hormone relaxes the muscles including the sphincter at the entry point to the stomach. This enables the stomach juices to travel back to the food pipe. This increases the incidences of heartburn.

  2. In later stages of pregnancy such discomforts arise by the increasing size of the baby exerting pressure on your digestive track.
There is not much to worry, as these conditions do not cause much harm to your little one inside.

How to treat and prevent heartburn during pregnancy?

You would certainly not want to risk life of your baby while dealing with heartburn in pregnancy. Here are discussed some safe treatment and prevention options you can consider to deal with the discomforts. Please read along:
  • It is a good idea to take small portion and eat several times a day. You need not take three large meals and rather divide it into small portions throughout the day.

  • Do not rush. Your digestive system is slow and you too need to slow down while eating.

  • Take a note of the foods that increase heartburn. Most of the spicy, rich, acidic and fried items should be eliminated from the diet.

  • While drinking water is good, drinking while eating is a bad habit. Keep away the water bottles while you are eating. Drink water sometime later once you have finished eating.

  • It is a bad habit to sleep immediately after finishing a meal. Wait for some time, read your favourite books or listen to music after food than heading to the bed immediately.

  • Your head should be elevated than the rest of your body while sleeping so that your foods are not moving up to the chest.

  • If you feel too uncomfortable, you can ask for medicines that are safe from your doctor during pregnancy.

  • Loose fitting clothes shall also reduce incidences of heartburn to a great extent. Clothes that are tightly fitted exert pressure on your abdomen and stomach.
If you still suffer from heartburn even after trying these above measures, you need to seek medical advice. Take the medicines prescribed by your healthcare professional and see your health improving. All your discomforts shall disappear once the baby is born.

When to consult the doctor?

For most of the women heartburn experienced in pregnancy ranges from temporary to mild. However, in severe cases it might lead to fatal consequences as well. These are the following instances discussed when you need to get in touch with the doctor:
  • When you are spitting blood.

  • When you experience loss of weight.

  • When you pass black stools.

  • When you wake up at night due to excessive heartburn and indigestion.

  • In case you suffer from indigestion and heartburn again when the effect of antacid wears away.
According to estimates heartburn and indigestion are very common in pregnancy. Nearly 22% women are affected in the first trimester, 39% suffers from it in the second trimester and 72% has to deal with it in the third trimester. Make sure to follow a healthy diet and medications if prescribed by your doctor. The good news is all these discomforts shall be gone with the arrival of your little one.

What causes indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy? How to prevent indigestion, heartburn and constipation during pregnancy? What are the ways to treat indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy? Discuss here.

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Smitha.6 years ago
severe constipation has been a problem with me since my early pregnancy days. i have low iron levels also. my doctor has given me iron tablets which are causing more problem for me. even diet and water intake are not helping.........
Poorna.6 years ago
my sister is very much into junk food. now that she is pregnant, she still has a lot of junk food. she also experiences frequent indigestion and hearty burn. i know it is due to junk food but she is not going to leave eating ....
Pavitra.6 years ago
i know that digestion becomes sluggish during pregnancy. how can i prevent indigestion and heart burn during pregnancy?
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