Treating Pregnancy Indigestion and Heartburn

Those raging pregnancy hormones are likely doing a number on your body.  In addition to the chemical changes taking place in your brain and your probable anxiety and heightened emotional state over a baby on the way, your digestive track may be all out of whack.  The estrogen and progesterone that is relaxing your body tissues is also relaxing your gastrointestinal tract. The result: slower digestion, indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation and a general soreness of the stomach. Many pregnant women also suffer from major heartburn, which is caused because those same hormones are preventing the stomach valve from keeping acid out of the esophagus as they normally would.  Additionally, acid is forced into the esophagus from organ crowding due to your growing uterus

While these gastro symptoms of pregnancy are annoying and uncomfortable, they are very common.  Unfortunately, not all of them can be resolved.  Elevated hormones are necessary for you and your baby to thrive, and with that comes some discomfort. But there are some safe remedies for heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy.  Check out our tummy trouble tips below:

  • Treating Pregnancy Indigestion and HeartburnWear loose fitting clothes and maternity bras that allow your stomach to “breathe.” When you put pressure on your lower body from restrictive clothing, it can trap gas and not allow things to flow smoothly through the digestive tract.  You can still look awesome in your maternity wear without it suffocating your belly.  For instance, our expandable maternity leggings are a great choice to wear comfortably over your bump as it grows.  Also, wear the right size maternity bra for good posture and the flow of oxygen, both of which aide the digestive process.
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large ones.  As your body is a bit sluggish in digesting food – and perhaps sluggish in other ways too! – you should give your tummy a little break by not overloading it.  Also, smaller meals will help ensure steady blood sugar levels, which is good for you and the baby.
  • Treating Pregnancy Indigestion and HeartburnEat slowly to allow food to settle as it works its way through your body.  Chew your food thoroughly to help break it down before it is swallowed.  Acid and enzymes help dissect food in the body.  The less acid you require your body to create, the better.
  • Avoid digestively distressing foods high in fat, carbonated drinks and very spicy foods.  Yes, say bye bye to fried chicken, sodas and kung pow shrimp, at least for awhile.  These can cause anyone to reach for an antacid, especially a pregnant lady.  Also, fibrous veggies can be rough on the stomach.  Don’t avoid them altogether because they provide great nutrients for you and the baby, but do try to eat them over the course of the day, not all at once.
  • Speaking of antacids, take one if your doctor says it is safe.  Sometimes a few chewy tablets are all you need for some relief.  Many of them offer extra calcium too, which is essential during pregnancy.
  • After eating, stay upright for at least an hour.  That means no late night meals right before bed.  Let gravity help push your food in the right direction and keep the digestive tract, well, on track.  When you do sleep, try to keep your head and upper torso propped slightly to avoid acid reflux.
  • Treating Pregnancy Indigestion and HeartburnGinger is a helpful herb to reduce an upset stomach.  Many pregnant women use it to curb nausea and vomiting, which can cause stomach pain and heartburn.  You can drink it in ginger ale or ginger tea, or suck on ginger candies.
  • Bending from the belly can be physically painful on many levels but is also disruptive to digestion and may cause acid to creep back up into the esophagus.  Instead, bend down from your knees so your torso remains upright.
  • Watch for patterns in your digestive system.  If certain foods or behaviors trigger constipation, gassiness or heartburn, work to reduce or eliminate them.  Every body is unique so we should each be aware of our triggers to ensure we are as gastro-comfortable as possible during pregnancy.

We hope you find these tips helpful in relieving your pregnancy induced tummy troubles.  Remember, it’s all part of the “joys” of carrying a baby in your body.  The end is in sight and the result will be well worth the minor inconvenience, we guarantee it!