What Causes Indigestion in Pregnancy?
Experiencing indigestion during pregnancy is no fun. This condition can be painful and uncomfortable to deal with, but it’s quite common among expectant mothers, especially during their second and third trimesters. Indigestion causes pain in the chest and upper abdomen, heartburn, a feeling of fullness, bloating, flatulence, burping, nausea and sometimes diarrhea.
During pregnancy, the body releases extra hormones that soften the muscles in the stomach and cause acids to rise in the throat, leading to indigestion and heartburn. Indigestion in pregnancy can also be a result of a growing fetus putting pressure on your stomach, overeating or eating too fast, eating certain foods and drinks or anxiety and depression. Severe cases of indigestion during pregnancy can be caused by more serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Prevention and Treatments
Indigestion during pregnancy can be minimized with simple lifestyle changes. Avoid foods and drinks that are known to cause indigestion, such as caffeinated beverages, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, onions, garlic, citrus fruits and greasy foods. Alcohol should also be avoided because it can increase the production of stomach acids and make the heartburn that usually accompanies indigestion during pregnancy worse.
Some other things you can do to prevent indigestion in pregnancy are to eat slowly and opt for smaller more frequent meals instead of larger ones. Instead of drinking liquids with meals, drink them between meals. Wait two to three hours after eating before you lie down to give your food time to digest. Use pillows to elevate your head when you sleep to prevent stomach acid from rising in your esophagus. And avoid smoking and stay within the recommended weight gain guidelines outlined by your doctor.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to ease indigestion symptoms during pregnancy, over-the-counter medicines such as antacids may be safe to take. Always consult your doctor before taking any type of medication while you are pregnant.
If indigestion during pregnancy is severe and occurs often, see a doctor immediately to rule out something more serious.