How to fight heartburn (and nausea) during pregnancy? Tips to improve digestion for mothers-to-be

Raise your hand if you are a woman who has or has had problems with digestion during pregnancy. If we were to count, it would almost be a plebiscite. These problems, in fact, affect the vast majority of pregnant women, some more and some less, some sooner and some later. It is estimated that almost 3 out of 4 mothers experience poor digestion particularly from the second semester of pregnancy. If, therefore, digestion problems are quite common, let’s see what causes them and how they can be alleviated.

Throughout pregnancy, from conception to delivery, a woman’s body is accompanied by major physical and psychological changes. These are bodily, hormonal and emotional changes that are accompanied by a series of symptoms that may occur throughout pregnancy or change during it. There is no need to worry: they are a natural effect of gestation. Digestive problems, in particular, are the result of the increased volume of the uterus compressing the stomach and hormones affecting the digestion time. The symptoms are many, from nausea to acidity, from a feeling of fullness and weight on the stomach to gastric reflux.

But if poor digestion and the resulting discomfort can affect the mother-to-be’s peace of mind, there are some small tips that can help the woman tolerate the problems.

As far as nausea is concerned, if it is mild, it is sufficient to split meals, avoid heavy foods such as fried foods and animal fats, consume carbohydrates in the morning to compensate for stomach acidity, and never drink on an empty stomach.

In cases where nausea is more severe and accompanied by vomiting, it is necessary to hear and agree on a treatment with your doctor. Generally, physiological solutions and mineral salts are administered. A close relative of nausea is oesophageal reflux. Again, to prevent this disorder, it is advisable to split meals into many small snacks and to prefer fast-digesting foods, avoiding animal fats, heavy seasonings, sauces, creams and spicy foods. It is best to avoid going to bed immediately after meals as lying down promotes reflux.

Instead, a nice walk is recommended, which is also good for the body. To facilitate the passage of food down into the stomach, you can also add a pillow under the head to give the right inclination. There are also some medications that can help without any risk to the unborn child. Those based on sodium bicarbonate, for example, neutralise acidity and protect the mucous membrane of the oesophagus without affecting the health of the baby. In any case, you should always consult your doctor.

Against heartburn, foods containing caffeine such as coffee of course, tea and chocolate, or acidic foods such as tomato and lemon should be avoided.

There are also general tricks that are always valid, such as chewing slowly and drinking the fateful two litres of water per day. But you should also be careful with water: it should be taken in small quantities and often throughout the day to avoid reflux and to stay hydrated. Carbonated drinks should be avoided, while tea and chamomile can be taken but with moderation.

You can also find relief from digestive disorders with natural remedies such as taking ginger and vitamins B1 and B2 that regulate digestive processes. Before taking supplements, however, you should consult your gynaecologist.

Finally, you should pay attention to your weight. Excessive weight gain promotes digestive disorders. On the contrary, keeping your diet under control, combined with an active lifestyle, helps prevent and alleviate discomfort and promote the health of both mother and baby.

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