Digestive Health During Pregnancy: Tips to Improve Digestion and Reduce Discomfort

Digestive Health During Pregnancy: Tips to Improve Digestion and Reduce Discomfort


Pregnancy is a time of many changes, including changes to your digestive system. The hormonal fluctuations and physical changes that occur during pregnancy can cause a range of digestive symptoms, including nausea, constipation, and heartburn. In this article, we will discuss ways to improve digestion during pregnancy, including tips from experts and industry statistics.

Understanding Digestive Changes During Pregnancy:

During pregnancy, the digestive system undergoes several changes to accommodate the growing fetus. These changes include:

Hormonal Changes:

The hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles in the digestive tract, which can slow down the movement of food and cause constipation. Additionally, the hormone relaxin can cause the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach to relax, leading to acid reflux and heartburn.

Physical Changes:

As the uterus expands, it can push on the stomachand intestines, leading to feelings of fullness and discomfort. Additionally, the growing fetus can put pressure on the rectum, leading to constipation.

Tips to Improve Digestion During Pregnancy:

Eat Smaller Meals:

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce feelings of fullness and discomfort. Aim to eat six small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones.

Stay Hydrated:

Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help prevent constipation and improve digestion. Aim for at least eight cups of water per day.

Choose High-Fiber Foods:

Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help promote bowel regularity and prevent constipation.


Gentle exercise, such as walking or swimming, can help stimulate the digestive system and reduce constipation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Practice Good Posture:

Sitting or standing up straight can help prevent acid reflux and heartburn. Avoid slouching or lying down immediately after eating.

Avoid Trigger Foods:

Certain foods, such as spicy or fatty foods, can trigger acid reflux and heartburn. Avoid these foods, or eat them in moderation.

Expert Opinion:

According to Dr. Christine Greves, an OB-GYN at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, "Pregnant women should focus on eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are high in fiber and can help prevent constipation." Additionally, Dr. Greves recommends staying hydrated and avoiding foods that can trigger acid reflux and heartburn.

Industry Statistics:

According to the American Pregnancy Association, up to 50% of pregnant women experience constipation during pregnancy. Additionally, up to 80% of women experience heartburn during pregnancy.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

While digestive discomfort is common during pregnancy, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience severe or persistent symptoms. These may include:

  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Blood in the stool or vomit
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation


Digestive discomfort is a common symptom during pregnancy, but there are many ways to improve digestion and reduce discomfort. By following the tips outlined in this article, pregnant women can promote bowel regularity, prevent constipation, and reduce symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. Remember to seek medical attention if you experience severe or persistent symptoms.

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