Apart from nausea and morning sickness, another common companion of a pregnant woman is indigestion. It is one of the most common complaints reported by almost 80% of the pregnant women. It causes great discomfort with burning sensation in the chest and throat areas. Every pregnant woman would naturally tend to worry about the well-being of her unborn baby.
- What causes indigestion in pregnancy?
- Is it avoidable?
- Does it harm your baby?
What causes indigestion in pregnancy?
Hormones!!!The high level of hormones you produce in pregnancy relaxes all muscles in your body including your digestive system. This results in slowed digestion which in turn causes heartburn and indigestion. In late pregnancy, as your growing womb puts pressure on the stomach, your ingestion symptoms will increase further.
Read: 5 benefits of eating healthy during pregnancy
Though the hormones and the growing tummy are the usual culprits which cause indigestion, sometimes there are other factors which cause indigestion:
- High consumption of caffeinated beverages
- Consumption of fatty and greasy foods
- Certain medications
- Spicy and fried foods
- Eating too quickly without proper chewing
- Alcohol consumption
What are the typical symptoms of indigestion in pregnancy?
Some of the symptoms of indigestion in pregnancy are: - Heartburn
- Acid reflux
- Constant burping
- Feeling of fullness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Regurgitation (Food coming up from stomach)
As each woman and each pregnancy is different, so it is not necessary that every pregnant woman experiences all the symptoms.
Tips to prevent indigestion during pregnancy?
By taking few precautions, it is possible to reduce the symptoms of indigestion. We present to you few tips to deal with indigestion in your pregnancy. Though it has a quick remedy in the form of an antacid, it is always better to try and keep indigestion at bay rather than popping an antacid.
1. Eat Small and Frequent Meals
Try to eat at least 5-6 small meals a day. Don’t overload your digestive system with too much food at a time. Overeating can cause severe indigestion as your digestive process is already slow. Always have nutritious and timely meals.
2. Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain foods are known to cause heartburn. Avoid eating them as much as possible.
· Spicy foods
· Fried foods
· Citrus fruits
· Raw onions, garlic etc.
Keep a food diary and note down which foods cause you the symptoms. Eliminate those food items from your diet throughout your pregnancy.
3. Avoid Late Night Eating
You should ideally finish your dinner 2-3 hours before sleeping. Lying down immediately after dinner causes stomach acid to rise up into the esophagus causing heartburn. If you eat late at night, your body might not get enough time to digest the food. You may wake up feeling bloated and full.
Read: How to deal with midnight hunger during pregnancy?
4. Keep your head elevated while sleeping
Try to use pillows to prop up your head and shoulders. This prevents the stomach acid from moving up into the esophagus while sleeping. A tilt of around 6 inches would be sufficient for you to sleep comfortably and also keep acid reflux at bay.
5. Sit upright when eating
Always maintain an upright position while eating. Lying down or slouching down when eating can lead to stomach acids rising up to your esophagus causing heartburn. Always try to bend at your knees and not at your waist. Bending forward from the waist can cause the stomach acid to move forward into the esophagus.
6. Try a natural remedy
If you are experiencing indigestion and heartburn, try some natural remedies like
· Ripe papaya
· Honey and warm milk
· Cold milk/ice cream
Well, you should try whatever remedies suit you well. For some, having dairy products worsens the condition.
7. Chew your food well
Chewing is the first step of the digestion process. A well-chewed food is easy on the stomach to digest.
Eating quickly can cause to swallow air, which leads to gas accumulation in your tummy. So, never gulp down your food quickly and chew your food slowly.
Also Read: Importance of folic acid during pregnancy
8. Wear appropriate clothing
Always wear loose and comfortable clothing which does not put pressure on the stomach. Wearing tight fitting jeans, leggings etc., can not only cause discomfort but also worsen your indigestion symptoms.
9. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
Limit drinks containing high amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Not only they are known to cause ingestion but excess alcohol can cause birth defects in the baby and excess caffeine can disturb your sleep pattern, which can further worsen your indigestion symptoms.
10. Drink lot of water
Keep yourself well hydrated. It is always better to drink water before or after a meal. Frequent water intake during a meal can increase the intensity of heartburn. If you want to drink water during a meal, always drink small sips of water and never gulp it down.
Can indigestion harm my baby?
No, indigestion does not harm your baby in any way, in spite of your discomfort.
It is, in fact, beneficial to the baby as the slowed digestion process give more time for your body to pass nutrients to your baby through the placenta.
Read: 13 Foods which You Should Avoid During First 3 Months of Pregnancy
Are there any treatments for indigestion during pregnancy?
If the above suggestions have not helped, speak to your doctor to recommend medicines to ease heartburn and indigestion.
Usually, most antacids are safe to take during pregnancy. They neutralize the stomach acids and restore the pH balance. However, take all medications in the suggested dosage only. However, if medications don’t provide you relief and you are also finding it difficult to keep the food down or losing weight or experiencing abdominal pain, talk to your doctor immediately.
Dear Moms-to-be, there is nothing to fear if you have indigestion. It is the most common symptom experienced by pregnant women. You can always follow our tips to keep indigestion at bay. Sometimes, a severe case of indigestion and heartburn may need medication. Always consult a doctor before taking any medication and always take the required dosage only. If you notice that you are losing weight or experiencing severe pain in the abdomen, consult your doctor immediately.
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