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Melissa Little
Msc RD, Pediatric and Antenatal Dietician. She is a spokesperson for the British Dietetics Association on TV and in print. Member of the parliamentary group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood at Westminster for the UK Government.
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Pregnancy ailments

Constipation, heartburn, wind and bloating - digestive problems during pregnancy

Pregnancy comes with some quite marked digestive symptoms including heartburn, constipation, wind and bloating. Heartburn is common due to the hormone relaxin relaxing the sphincter above your stomach and allowing stomach acid and food to come back up the oesophagus or food pipe after eating.
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In Short
Talk to your doctor about safe heartburn medications to take during pregnancy.

If you suffer from heartburn, prop yourself up on pillows when you sleep and avoid spicy foods.

Your gut can slow down during pregnancy leading to constipation.

To alleviate constipation, eat foods that soften your poo and speed up digestion, such as figs, prunes, apricots, and beetroot.

Drink lots of water. Talk to your doctor before taking medication.

How can I alleviate heartburn in pregnancy?

Heartburn is very common as the hormone relaxin that softens and loosens the ligaments in your pelvis for birth can ‘weaken’ the sphincter at the top of your stomach. This means the contents of your stomach (containing acid) can ‘leak’ back up your oesophagus (food pipe), especially when you are lying down. Speak to your doctor about safe heartburn treatments. You can try sleeping slightly propped up with an extra pillow (to stop your stomach contents leaking into your oesophagus), avoid very spicy foods (especially before exercise or going to sleep) and don’t lie down straight after you have eaten.

Constipation, wind and bloating in pregnancy

When you are pregnant, things can feel very uncomfortable and unpleasant with your tummy. Even if you’ve always been regular and had a happy digestive system, you may now suffer from constipation, wind, and bloating.

Bloating can occur because of the increased levels of progesterone, which slows down your digestion, giving nutrients more time to enter your bloodstream and be delivered to your baby. This can also lead to constipation. Try to include foods that speed up digestion and soften your poo naturally such as figs, apricots, and beetroots in your diet. Drink lots of water. If constipation becomes a problem speak to your doctor but make sure he or she knows that you are pregnant.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.