During pregnancy, your body undergoes significant changes—some of which can impact your digestive system. While you may be expecting a range of symptoms such as nausea, bloating, constipation, and heartburn, you may not know what to do about them. Pregnancy digestion issues can be uncomfortable and even painful, making it challenging to enjoy this special time in your life fully.
The team here at OB/GYN Associates of Alabama is here to give you all the information you need to deal with these issues if and when they arrive. We cover the digestive problems you might face, why they occur, what helps with digestion during pregnancy, and what you can do to get relief safely.
Nausea and Vomiting (“Morning Sickness”)
Nausea and vomiting are common pregnancy digestion issues women face, usually during the first trimester. Traditionally, the medical profession refers to these episodes as “morning sickness,” though it can occur at any time of the day. Researchers believe hormonal changes produce these unpleasant sensations.
You can treat this condition by:
- Eating small frequent meals throughout the day
- Avoiding foods with smells that trigger nausea
- Staying hydrated
You can also try ginger, which helps soothe some women’s nausea. Ginger candies are popular, as are ginger teas. If you choose tea, just make sure to choose a caffeine-free variety. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day.
Constipation During Pregnancy
Constipation is another common digestive issue women experience during pregnancy. Again, researchers put it down to hormonal changes slowing down digestive movements, plus the effect of the growing uterus pressing on the bowel.
You can treat pregnancy constipation by:
- Eating more high-fiber foods
- Using stool softeners approved for use during pregnancy
- Increasing fluid intake
- Staying active
Is Colace safe during pregnancy?
Colace® is a name-brand stool softener frequently recommended by doctors to treat constipation. Research shows that taking stool softeners like Colace while pregnant is generally safe since the active ingredient (docusate sodium) doesn’t enter the bloodstream in large quantities. But be sure to send a quick message to your OB first to make sure it’s right for you.
Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn is one of the most common digestive issues pregnant women face. Hormonal changes can cause the valve between the stomach and esophagus to relax, allowing stomach acid to flow back up. That’s what causes the uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest and throat.
To treat heartburn safely, try eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding spicy or acidic foods, and avoiding lying down immediately after eating. If heartburn is persistent, you may try an antacid, such as Tums, Rolaids, Pepcid, or Prilosec. However, avoid antacids containing sodium bicarbonate, such as Alka-Seltzer. If these do not provide relief, contact your OB for an evaluation.
Diarrhea During Pregnancy
Diarrhea is less common during pregnancy. However, it can occur. Usually, it results from changes in diet or hormonal fluctuations. Management is key with diarrhea—be sure to stay hydrated and avoid foods that trigger or worsen an upset stomach. These can include fried or fatty foods, sugary sweets, dairy products, and spicy foods.
If you are struggling to deal with diarrhea, consult your doctor. They can provide medication to reduce symptoms safely. Do NOT take medications like Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate while pregnant, as they have been linked to birth differences in some cases.
Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
You might also notice the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. These are swollen veins in the rectum and anus that can be caused by constipation and the increased pressure on the veins from the growing baby.
To treat this condition, try increasing your fiber and fluid intake, staying active, and using over-the-counter creams or ointments to reduce swelling. Eating more fiber will reduce “straining” when you go, making it less likely these bulging veins will form.
Get Help with Pregnancy-Related Digestive Issues Today
No one said that pregnancy was easy, but that doesn’t mean you should have to suffer unnecessarily! You deserve help finding safe and effective relief for gastrointestinal problems during this time. Fortunately, solutions do exist, and our team of dedicated physicians is ready to assist you.
If you’d like to discuss safe medications and strategies to deal with pregnancy-related digestive health issues, get in touch with OB/GYN Associates of Alabama. We are here to answer any questions, provide guidance, and offer treatment for any concerns you may have. Most importantly, we’re here to listen and support you every step of the way!
Find Peace of Mind with the Best OB/GYN for Pregnancy in the Birmingham Metro Area
OB/GYN Associates of Alabama has been serving women in Birmingham, Hoover, Gardendale, and all surrounding communities since 1965. Our mission has always been to provide the highest quality women’s healthcare services while always remaining sensitive to your needs. If you’re searching for a new OB/GYN, find your most convenient location here or call (205) 291-1099 to get started!