Problems in Digestion During Pregnancy

Published: 15th December 2008
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Many pregnant women complain of constipation. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, high levels of hormones in your spouse's pregnant body slow down digestion and relax muscles in the bowels leaving many women constipated. Plus, the pressure of the expanding uterus on the bowels boosts the chances for constipation.

Try these tips to help her stay more regular:

• Add fiber-rich foods like fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and whole-grain cereals and breads daily to her diet

• Get her to drink eight to ten glasses of water everyday

• Tell her to avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, colas, and some other sodas), since caffeine makes her body lose fluid needed for regular bowel movements

• Get her moving. Mild exercise like walking may also ease constipation.

Heartburn and Indigestion

Almost every pregnant woman experiences indigestion and heartburn. Hormones and the pressure of the growing uterus cause this discomfort. Pregnancy hormones slow down the muscles of the digestive tract. So food tends to move more slowly and digestion is sluggish. This causes many pregnant women to feel bloated.

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, hormones also relax the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This allows food and acids to come back up from the stomach to the esophagus. The food and acid causes the burning feeling of heartburn. As the baby gets bigger, the uterus pushes on the stomach, making heartburn more common in later pregnancy.

Try these tips to help your partner prevent and ease indigestion and heartburn:

• Avoid greasy and fried foods in her diet

• Make sure she eats six to eight small meals instead of three large meals

• Take care she doesn't gain more than the recommended amount of weight

• Allow her to only take small sips of milk or eat small pieces of chipped ice to soothe burning

• Make sure she eats slowly

• Ask your doctor if she can take an antacid medicine

Staying active can protect your spouse's emotional health. Pregnant women who exercise seem to have better self-esteem and a lower risk of pregnancy depression and anxiety.

Paul Banas is a founder of He writes articles on pregnancy care, ovulation calculator, stages of pregnancy and many more topics related to to-be dads.

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