How to Deal With Gastrointestinal Complaints in Pregnancy

February 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Pregnancy

Nausea is one of the most recognizable symptoms of pregnancy. There are some other conditions that also make themselves felt during pregnancy, as most of us are aware. So as a pregnant lady, what are you supposed to do to alleviate them?

According to statistical research, one in every two women suffers from some sort of nausea and vomiting which begins at approximately six weeks after the conception of the fetus, and lasts until the end of the first trimester (twelve weeks). Nine normal weeks under these circumstances can feel like nine weeks too long!

In most women, mild nausea occurs, which is quite ordinary. However, severe nausea is a symptom of hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. If you have extreme nausea, see your physician and get tested. If you start feeling nauseous after your second trimester, it can be a sign of obstructed bowels or bowel twist.

In these cases, it always helps to break down your meals. Take in lesser quantities of food at smaller intervals, rather than sticking to only breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fruits such as peaches, cantaloupe and berries will also do a lot to relieve nausea. Keep away from carbonated drinks and drink liquids in between meals to reduce expansion of your stomach.

Chances of heartburn also increase during pregnancy due to the increase of some hormones and other such changes in the body. The main factor leading to heartburn is said to be increased production of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the sphincter and pushes up acid into the throat causing nausea. It also slows down the process of digestion in the stomach, which is another factor to consider.

To ease the heartburn, expectant mothers should change their diet and give up all high fat foods, such as fried foods and chocolate (this is going to be tough!). Also, giving up caffeine, smoking and alcohol is essential. Raffinose produces gas, so reduce your intake of broccoli, lettuce and cabbage.

Antacids such as TUMS help. TUMS also contains calcium which is good for the bones. Also, when you suck on the antacids, the esophagus tightens, and this alleviates the nausea and heartburn.

Constipation is also ordinary in pregnant women and in women who have just given birth. Mainly, women who cannot expel once a day think they are constipated, although medically, it is defined as the inability to move the bowels more than thrice a week. Constipation can stem from either physical or psychological factors. Rectal tearing takes time to heal and causes a lot of pain, so women who have experienced it at birth tend to hold in rather than try to defecate. If the childbirth has been done through a caesarian section, temporary paralysis of the bowel may occur (ileus).

One of the ways that you can alleviate constipation is through walking, which helps by loosening the bowel as well as decreasing stress. Also, drink more water as well as other nourishing liquids. Taking of vitamins and mineral supplements is also helpful, in the form of calcium supplements and so on. According to physicians, pregnant mothers should keep away from commercial laxatives, unless the problem aggravates, in which case Docusate is sometimes prescribed.

Remember, if you take in the right foods in the right quantities and have a suitable exercise regime, then all your gastrointestinal problems and symptoms will fall to a minimum!