acid reflux heartburn GERD logo

Indigestion and Pregnancy

Indigestion affects at least 50 percent of women during their pregnancy. Digestive problems may develop during the second trimester, but are likely to be more exacerbated during the third due to the pressure of the growing baby on the stomach.

Increased hormone levels are the main cause of indigestion during pregnancy. They relax the stomach muscles, which causes food to pass through the digestive tract more slowly. This makes stomach acids rise to the oesophagus, promoting reflux or heartburn. Food sitting in the stomach can also trigger bloating and indigestion. Overweight women are more inclined to suffer from indigestion during pregnancy as the excess weight puts additional pressure on an already squished tummy.

Digestion problems are very individual, but general tips for avoiding them include:

• eat smaller, more frequent meals and nutritional snacks

• eat food slowly

• drink lots of fluids between meals, but never with meals

• sit upright when eating and don’t lie down for at least two hours after a meal

• take a slow walk after each meal

• drink a glass of milk before sleeping to neutralise stomach acids—cold milk can ease heartburn, while warm milk can induce a restful sleep

• drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed

• increase dietary intake of the B-complex vitamins • eat raw vegetables and salads with meals to aid digestion

• avoid the following foods, which are known to stimulate heartburn: – fried, fatty or acidic foods – hot, spicy or heavily seasoned foods – tomato-based products – citrus fruits and juices – cheese just prior to bedtime – peppermint—peppermint tea is good for digestion but is not a remedy for reflux – vinegar, chocolate, carbonated drinks, tea and coffee.

Foods that aid digestion include:

• bitter foods, such as rocket and watercress are excellent digestive aids • mint in all forms—use fresh mint in salads, salsas and desserts or dried peppermint and spearmint tea

• fennel—infuse seeds in boiling water as tea, or use as a spice in cooking

• ginger—use fresh slices in tea, juices and stir fries, or as a spice in cooking

• cumin, cardamom, turmeric and caraway spices

• banana, apple, pineapple, papaya, paw paw, tomato, carrot and celery

• chamomile tea

• milk and yoghurt are said to be useful for reflux.

Indigestion and Pregnancy: References

By Mortin - Copyright 2010
Last modification 05/02/2009