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Digestion in Pregnancy

Common digestion problems in pregnancy and how to alleviate them

By Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)Published 3 months ago 3 min read
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Digestion in Pregnancy
Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

First, I want to reiterate that pregnancy is evidence of health not disease!

That said, it does take a toll on your body. One of the ways this can manifest, is with digestive problems. These are common in pregnancy. They can include:

  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • acid reflux
  • constipation
  • low appetite
  • feeling bloated

Did you experience any of these?

The good news is - there is something you can do about it. This piece will walk you through how a movement based antenatal class (like pregnancy yoga) can help to alleviate lots of common pregnancy issues like these. They also give you an opportunuty to discuss some of the other things you can try as well.

It's important to consider why you might experience these unpleasant side effects, and from there, how you can remedy the problem at its root.

Space is at a Premium

As your womb and baby take up more room, there's less space for everything to work as normal.

The Remedy: The right movements and positions create space within your body so that your digestive system can work optimally.

As your pregnancy progresses, bringing symmetry to your body will help encourage your baby to find their best position. This is important for many reasons, including increased comfort, higher chance of a straightforward delivery, and - crucially - this will also create space for your internal systems (digestive, respiratory, etc.) to work well.

Hormonal changes

Oestrogen and progesterone (two things pregnant women are generally not short of) can stimulate hair growth. (Women typically notice their hair is thicker during pregnancy - the extra usually falls out in the months after the baby arrives.) Those same hormones can also relax the oesophagus. (This is why, if you experience lots of heartburn, people might tell you that you're carrying a baby with lots of hair - this apparently silly old wives tale does have its roots in fact.)

The Remedy: There is not much to be done your hormones, or your baby's hair, of course. But you can begin a simple regime of gentle movement designed to help improve peristalsis of the colon. This is really beneficial, because it helps with indigestion and constipation as well.

Medication

Constipation is a common side effect if you take iron supplements. It's common for pregnant women to experience low iron levels.

The Remedy: Creating space for your digestive system to work well will help, as discussed above. Breathing techniques useful for birth can also be useful for this as well.

You might find it helpful to switch to a different supplement. Some will have worse side effects than others. Liquid ones are usually absorbed more easily by your body, which means they tend to be more effective with milder side effects. It should go without saying that it is important to discuss with your midwife or doctor before switching or stopping any medication you have been prescribed.

Diet & Hydration

Sometimes it's hard to take care of yourself in pregnancy, especially if you already have little ones to care for. You might be experiencing sickness or nausea. You might not be able to tolerate the taste or smell of certain foods anymore. These things can contribute to you not getting all the nutrients or fluids you ideally need.

The Remedy: Releasing the psoas from its point of origin can help with nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. (Some call it "morning" sickness, but this is something of a misnomer, as it can occur at any time of time of day.) Relaxation, and taking time to prioritise yourself will also help.

Also note: Remember that you and your baby are resilient. Babies usually take what they need from long term nutrient stores in the mother's body regardless of the quality of your diet. Ideally, you still need to eat well - but this is for your own long-term health, to replace what the baby takes. Secondly, do your best to build a working relationship with your doctor or midwife - so they can keep an eye on your health. Make an appointment with your dentist as well - the toll on your long term stores commonly affects the health of your teeth.

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Please let me know if this was helpful, and share it with someone you know who is expecting! Thank you for reading!

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About the Creator

Sam The Doula (Blooming Miracle)

Childbirth Eductator since 2011

Building a resource for mothers-to-be to feel informed and confident about their choices

You can find me on Facebook or book classes with me

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  • Paul Stewart3 months ago

    I do not know anyone that is expecting...as my cousin's wife just recently gave birth. But, as ever, you prove yourself to be a great voice and advocate for pregnant women. I will definitely remember this if I do encounter anyone that needs this kind of information! Well done on an interesting and informative article that showcases your genuineness!

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