5 Quick Ways to Avoid Digestive Issues for Pregnant Women

If you’re pregnant or have ever been, you know the havoc that it can wreak on your digestive system. This can be due to several factors including hormones, diet, and pressure of your growing uterus on your intestinal tract.

While these symptoms can be annoying, the truth is that with a little patience, self-control, and research, you may be able to avoid many of these issues altogether. Read on for more information about what digestive issues can be expected during pregnancy, as well as ways to relieve and completely avoid such issues, quickly.

What Digestive Issues Can I Expect During Pregnancy, and What Causes Them?

There are several gastrointestinal related qualms that women face during their gestational period. These issues include, but are not limited to, the following:


One of the most common and irritating effects of pregnancy, heartburn typically rears its head around the second trimester and into the third.

Heartburn isn’t necessarily what it sounds like, because it actually doesn’t involve your heart at all. During pregnancy, there is a hormone that is released into the body known as relaxin. The role that relaxin plays in the body is exactly as it sounds. It works to relax your muscles to prepare your body for birth.

As a result, relaxin often relaxes the valve that is between your stomach and esophagus, making it difficult to keep acids from splashing back up into your throat. This is why, as you are experiencing heartburn, you will often feel a burning sensation in your chest and into your throat.

Furthermore, as your uterus continues to expand, it will add additional force to your intestinal area, thus pushing food and acids back into your chest and throat. The bigger your uterus the more likely this is to happen, so women in their third trimester tend to experience heartburn the most.

Your diet can also make a huge difference in the amount of heartburn you experience. Acidic or gas-producing foods such as citrus, beans, spicy and greasy foods and more can also bring about those uncomfortable chest burning sensations as well.


Probably the most embarrassing digestive symptom on the list, flatulence can be expected throughout the entirety of your pregnancy, including the first trimester. Similar to relaxin, your body produces another hormone during pregnancy known as progesterone. One of progesterone’s primary functions is to relax the muscles within the body to prepare it for birth.

As progesterone relaxes your muscles, it also relaxes your digestive tract. As a result, the food you consume will travel much more slowly throughout your digestive system. In fact, the time in which your food passes through your digestive system can slow as much as 30%.

As a result, your gut is given an ample amount of time to form a gas. Gas can be passed in the form of flatulence and belching. If you are unable to pass gas, it will likely become trapped and cause bloating and pain until it is finally released.


Changing the food you eat, increased hormones, and approaching your labor due date are all factors for why you may expect to have diarrhea during pregnancy. Moreover, you may begin to notice those pesky pregnancy cravings starting to kick in, during which you may begin craving and eating things that are diarrhea-inducing.


Similar to the others, constipation during pregnancy often has its roots in changes your body is going through and the increase of pregnancy hormones. It can also, however, be caused by a lack of fiber in your diet, dehydration, stress and a lack of physical exercise.

Also, if you are taking prenatal vitamins or iron tablets, be careful to watch your intake. Too much iron can cause constipation as well.

Nausea and Vomiting

This list of pregnancy gastrointestinal issues wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the classic symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Like the others, both hormones and an expanding uterus are to blame for your queasy feelings.

As your uterus expands it puts more pressure on your intestine and, instead of acid being pushed back into your esophagus it will often push the entire contents of your stomach up and out of your mouth. This is especially true if you eat too much, as your stomach is significantly smaller due to lack of space, especially as you progress in your pregnancy.

What Can I Do to Avoid the Pain of My Pregnancy-Related Gastrointestinal Issues?

1. Eat Smaller and More Frequently

You may consider eating 5-6 small meals a day, as opposed to 2-3 large meals a day. Doing so will be easier on your stomach as it can process a much smaller amount of food at a time, thus reducing the chances of excess gas, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea and more.

2. Load Up on Fiber

Both soluble and insoluble fibers play a major role in passing food more fluidly through your intestinal tract. As a result, you will likely find that adding more fiber to your diet is the perfect solution for relieving constipation.

Try adding the following to your diet for a high-fiber punch to your gut:

  • Oatmeal
  • Avocado
  • Artichokes
  • Chia Seeds
  • Plain or Salted Popcorn (no butter)
  • Almonds
  • Raspberries

3. Get Your B-Vitamins

Getting your B-vitamins during pregnancy is important for many reasons. It can help greatly to relieve nausea symptoms and can provide energy. A specific B-vitamin, known as B12, is even responsible for the production of your baby’s red blood cells and nervous system.

As a result, neglecting to consume vitamin B12, which is often found in meat and other animal by-products, can yield negative results. Earl Hailey from Patch MD (https://www.patchmd.com/) recommends getting enough vitamin B12 during pregnancy to reduce the chances of birth defects. Studies show that pregnant women who have low levels of this particular vitamin are up to five times more likely to see neural tube defects in their children than women with high levels of vitamin B12. Thus, you should be sure to talk to your doctor about how getting more B-vitamins in your diet can be beneficial for both you and your baby.

4. Drink Fluids

In order for your digestive tract to function as it should, you need to stay hydrated. Diarrhea and constipation are majorly affected by how much water you do, or don’t, drink. So drink up, but be sure that what you are drinking does not contain excess sugar, caffeine, or carbonation which can often make matters worse.

5. Exercise

It’s been scientifically proven that exercise improves the function of your digestive system, however, be careful not to overdo it. Walking is a great option for beginners, but you should talk to your doctor before starting any rigorous fitness routine.

Due to heartburn, vomiting, and the like, the joys of eating during pregnancy can actually end up being a less than pleasant experience. Nevertheless, following the five tips listed above can help you to experience a much more comfortable pregnancy. By staying active, drinking plenty of water, consuming fruits and vegetables and incorporating B-vitamins in your diet, you should see any gastrointestinal qualms you’ve been dealing with the turn around in no time.