Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, indigestion, gas and heartburn, are all common ailments during pregnancy. Symptoms are typically caused by hormonal changes, poor eating and fitness habits, and the extra pressure that your growing baby places on your intestinal tract. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Find ways to keep your digestive system running smoothly throughout all three trimesters of your pregnancy.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, which helps stimulate your digestive system and encourages regular bowel movements. Take a brisk walk, swim laps in a pool or ride a stationary bicycle.
Eat at least 28 grams of fiber every day to improve digestion. Reach for foods that are high in fiber, including beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Consume more probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut. Probiotics are a type of “good” bacteria in the gut that helps fight off the harmful bacteria that contributes to digestive problems. Although there is no recommended dosage for probiotics, "Eating Well" suggests eating at least one serving of probiotic-rich foods daily.
Munch on prebiotic-rich foods, such as whole grains, garlic, bananas and honey. Prebiotics are a type of indigestible dietary fiber that probiotics feed off of. They help improve digestion by nourishing the good bacteria in the body. For best results, eat at least two servings of prebiotic-rich foods daily.
Drink at least ten 8-ounce cups of water every day to speed up digestion and help stools pass easier.
Prevent digestive problems by avoiding high-fat foods, which remain in your digestive tract longer and can exacerbate symptoms. In addition, avoid eating a lot of food at one sitting. Instead, eat several smaller meals throughout your day so that your body has time to move food through your digestive system.
Do not make any changes to your diet without your doctor’s approval. Immediately see your doctor or obstetrician if digestive discomfort does not subside or is accompanied by persistent vomiting or weight loss, because these symptoms can be harmful to your unborn baby.
- Similac: Tips for Managing Common Pregnancy Digestion Symptoms
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition; Joy Bauer
- Eating Well: The Promise of Probiotics
- Parenting: Ask Dr. Sears: Probiotics During Pregnancy?
- Doctor Oz: Fact Sheet: Probiotics
- Doctor Oz: 8 Tips to Improve Your Digestive Health
- American Pregnancy Association: Exercise and Pregnancy