Diet to Reduce Indigestion During Pregnancy

Though pregnancy-related heartburn or indigestion is uncomfortable, diet changes may reduce the incidence of, and pain associated with, heartburn. Pregnancy hormones sometimes increase the likelihood of indigestion, but knowing which foods to avoid, as well as when and how much to eat can help you avoid pain associated with indigestion.

Indigestion Causes

You may notice an increase in heartburn during pregnancy, or you may be experiencing heartburn for the first time. According to the March of Dimes, hormones during pregnancy relax the muscles in your digestive tract, including the valve in the esophagus that blocks stomach acid. Toward the end of your pregnancy, it may worsen as your growing uterus presses on your stomach. This can push food or acid back up into your esophagus, which causes heartburn.

Diet to Reduce Indigestion

According to “The Doctors’ Book of Home Remedies for Women,” when and how much you eat can affect the severity of your indigestion. Consider eating five or six small meals a day, as larger meals will stay in your stomach longer, giving acid a chance to seep back up into your esophagus. Also, avoid eating or drinking for two to three hours before bedtime so that your stomach will be empty when you lie down.

Avoid foods that cause indigestion, such as fatty foods, caffeine, onions, citrus, tomatoes and garlic. Also, spicy foods take longer to digest, so they may cause heartburn as well.

In addition to eating smaller meals, avoid drinking too much during meals. Instead, drink in between meals.

Also, stay within a healthy weight range during your pregnancy, as excess weight could put extra pressure on your abdomen, which could increase your chances for heartburn.

Finally, avoid chewing with your mouth open, eating food too quickly and talking while chewing, as these may cause you to swallow too much air, which may lead to more indigestion.

When to Call Your Doctor

Though indigestion is normal during pregnancy, sometimes it can be severe and require medical intervention. Contact your health care provider if your heartburn resumes soon after your antacid wears off, if it keeps you up at night, if you spit up blood, have difficulty swallowing, have black stools or lose weight.

Also, heartburn and chest pains can feel similar, so if pain in your chest also radiates to your shoulders, neck or back, seek help immediately.

Though pregnancy-related heartburn or indigestion is uncomfortable