Most women experience a moderate case of heartburn and indigestion while pregnant. Some women, however, may experience a more extreme case and need to eliminate certain foods to find relief. The result of indigestion during pregnancy is due to the hormonal change that causes the muscles in the digestive tract to relax and pressure on your stomach from your growing uterus, explains the March of Dimes. While completely eliminating indigestion during pregnancy may not be possible, avoiding certain trigger foods can help.
All products containing caffeine, including chocolate, can contribute to indigestion. Coffee, cola and tea cause the esophageal sphincter to relax, which can make heartburn worse. In addition to indigestion, caffeinated beverages and foods also increase blood pressure and heart rate, which may pose health risks during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, caffeine can pass through the placenta to your baby. Keep in mind that as a stimulant, coffee may cause changes in your unborn baby's sleeping patterns and keep you awake at night. Replace caffeinated beverages with water or non-citrus fruit juices and limit the amount of chocolate you consume to help improve indigestion.
Citrus fruits and tomatoes offer healthy vitamins and minerals, but may also trigger heartburn and indigestion. Oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruit put digestive enzymes to work, increasing the production of acids that may lead to indigestion. Tomatoes and tomato-based foods, such as ketchup and marinara sauce, can contribute to indigestion due to the high level of acidity. To ease indigestion, avoid excessive consumption of tomatoes or citrus fruits.
While some women may crave spicy foods during pregnancy, the seasoning of spicy foods may cause heartburn and indigestion. Spicy food causes stomach acids to return to the esophagus by weakening the lower esophageal sphincter. Onions, garlic, curry, chili and hot sauces often cause indigestion in pregnant women. If you crave spicy foods while pregnant, monitor your body's reaction to the foods to determine whether or not they cause indigestion.
Greasy foods that are high in fat take longer to digest than healthy, high-fiber foods. This may increase the chance of indigestion because stomach acids are at work for a longer period of time. Like spicy foods and caffeine, foods high in fat content cause the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach to relax, making indigestion or heartburn more likely. Avoid greasy, high-fat foods, including fried food, fast food and heavy-cream-based sauces.