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Gas & Bloating
Updated on 3 November 2023
Many women suffer from indigestion during pregnancy, which is often painful and uncomfortable. Indigestion (also known as heartburn) is pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen after eating or drinking, but it can happen sometime afterwards. Heartburn does not mean that it is related to your heart but gives a burning sensation in your throat or behind the breastbone when acidic foods and liquids move up to the esophagus. The oesophagus is a tube that connects the throat and stomach. It is also caused by hormonal changes and the growing baby pressing against the abdomen. Indigestion may happen anytime during pregnancy but are more severe during the third trimester of pregnancy. We can help ease indigestion by making a few changes in our diet and lifestyle, along with a few safe medicines during pregnancy.
If you have heartburn or indigestion, you may experience the following:
Here are five reasons why you may experience indigestion during pregnancy:
Avoid Citrus foods such as tomatoes, oranges, and grapefruits as these lead to heartburn and indigestion. Tomatoes should be eaten in moderate quantities. Tomatoes and tomato products contain malic and citric acid, which causes the stomach to produce a lot of gastric acids, making your gastric acid levels rise high enough to force it up the oesophagus. Orange juices are also considered to be a trigger for heartburn. They contain ascorbic acid, which increases indigestion if consumed in large amounts.
Avoid caffeine and soda. Caffeine is a stimulant that can also increase your blood pressure and heart rate. As the pregnancy progresses, the body cannot break down the caffeine, which leads to no sleep and heartburn. Sugary drinks like soda should be avoided during pregnancy as they have many chemicals and calories that have no nutritional value. It can also be harmful to the fetus. Soda also contains carbonated water, which leads to an increase in blood pressure. Therefore frequent consumption of sodas can lead to obese babies and miscarriage.
Fried and Fatty foods lead to indigestion as they take longer to digest, thus triggering your stomach to create more acid and making you feel bloated. Fatty foods are very high in calories, leading to a lot of weight gain. Eating too much-saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood, increasing the chances of heart disease. Also, research says that consuming fatty foods has a greater risk of defective childbirth.
Pregnancy hormones can affect the digestive system. Progesterone, also known as the pregnancy hormone, acts as a muscle relaxer. While suffering from heartburn, the hormone can loosen the muscle, thus closing your stomach off the esophagus. They often lead to the slowing of digestion in the stomach and small and large intestines. The rapid increase in estrogen levels during the first trimester of pregnancy will often lead to nausea. Also, as the baby grows, the enlarged uterus can force the abdomen, thus pushing the stomach acids upwards. In rare cases, gallstones can also lead to heartburn or indigestion.
Avoid eating chocolate on an empty stomach. Limit the intake of chocolate, and if you have dark chocolate, it is much more beneficial as it improves the blood flow to the fetus. Avoid overeating chocolates for 2 reasons. Chocolate makes you less hungry, thus preventing you from eating healthy food causing, thus hampering your balanced diet. Secondly, chocolate contains caffeine, and pregnant women should keep their caffeine intake low and limit it to 200 mg daily. Drinking caffeinated beverages and chocolate as a snack is not a good combination as it might cross the caffeine limit. All together, chocolate should be avoided if you have unbalanced blood sugar levels, gestational diabetes, and an increase in weight gain.
You may also like: 4th Month Pregnancy Diet Chart (mylofamily.com)
Following are a few tips that will help prevent acid production and help avoid the discomfort of heartburn:
There are a few drinks that you can sip throughout the day to ease digestion and which are also beneficial for your baby.
Few over-the-counter medications that can cure indigestion during pregnancy are:
Always consult a doctor before consuming the medicines as they react differently to everybody. Do not use it for longer than directed on the label. If the symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
While we all know that indigestion can be very painful and uncomfortable during pregnancy, it vanishes soon after the delivery, and the hormonal level also comes down to normal. Consult your healthcare professional if the heartburn is very severe.
NHS. Indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy. www.nhs.uk
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