Heartburn, constipation, gas, and bloating — Digestion strategies anyone can stomach

Blue Stem

Pregnancy can definitely impact your digestive system. But there are actions you can take to support your digestive health and help alleviate, and possibly even prevent, common pregnancy-related digestion symptoms. If any of these symptoms persist or become problematic, speak with your doctor.


Pregnancy-related digestion issues: causes and tips for relief

Heartburn

Causes

  • Changing hormones
  • Your baby’s increasing size
  • Fatty or spicy foods

Relief

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes (pants or belts that leave a ring around your stomach are too tight)
  • Sit up while eating
  • Avoid eating late at night, at least an hour before going to bed
  • After eating, avoid lying down, and if you feel up to it, take a short walk
  • Chew gum or suck on a sour lemon drop to increase saliva flow, which neutralizes the acid in the stomach
  • Relax. Sit down, close your eyes, and take 10 long, deep breaths
  • Sleep with your head raised several inches above the rest of your body
  • Lastly, always consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications, even antacids

Constipation

Causes

  • Your hormone levels cause your digestive system to work more slowly, which may lead to constipation

Relief

  • Drink plenty of water—ten 8-oz cups a day
  • Slowly increase the fiber in your diet. Aim for 28 g of daily fiber by eating foods such as beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, cereals, and oatmeal
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes every day to stimulate your digestive tract and promote regular bowel movement. Check with your doctor about exercising while pregnant.

Gas and Bloating

Causes

  • Gas and bloating during pregnancy are common symptoms, especially during the early months. In addition to the tips above for dealing with constipation, you can try the tips below to help relieve your symptoms

Relief

  • Eat slowly
  • Avoid foods gas-producing gas like cabbage or beans, and find other nutritious foods instead
  • Wait at least an hour after eating before you lie down. Give your food time to digest while you're still upright