Digestive discomforts are common side effects of pregnancy…but like most prenatal discomforts, there are ways to prevent and manage them.
What Causes Heart Burn and Reflux?
Heartburn and reflux are caused by exposure of the food pipe to the acidic contents of the stomach. Normally, the valve separating the stomach from the food pipe is supposed to contract to prevent this situation. The elevated levels of the hormone progesterone can cause this valve to relax, which can cause heartburn and reflux. As your uterus grows and displaces other abdominal organs, a lot of pressure is put on the digestive tract as well.
How Can I Prevent/Manage Heartburn and Reflux?
- Elevate the upper body when sleeping
- Try to avoid bending over for long periods of time
- Wait an hour after eating before exercising or lying down
- Avoid trigger foods
- East smaller more frequent meals
- Do not participate aqua fitness classes
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation can be caused by elevated hormones that cause the digestive system to relax (and therefore slow down) and by the increased pressure of the growing uterus on the digestive tract.
How Can I Prevent/Manage Constipation?
- Exercise regularly
- Drink plenty of fluids- especially water
- Eat a balanced diet
- Eat more dietary fiber (veggies, fruit, whole grains, bran, legumes)
- Do rhythmic pelvic floor exercise Ex. Lift your pelvic floor on the exhale
- Constipation may also be caused by taking iron supplements; discuss this with your health care provider.
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