7 Pregnancy Tips to Keep Your Digestive System Happy

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Susan Fishman, NCC, CRC on September 16, 2022
  • pregnant-woman-with-hands-on-stomach
    Ahhhh, the Joys of Pregnancy
    Belching, bloating, constipation, gas … pregnancy can lead to some pretty uncomfortable — and embarrassing — moments. Of course, that little of bundle of joy makes it all worth it! Still, being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to put up with non-stop digestion problems. There are some things you can do to get relief, so you can get back to preparing for your new arrival.
  • bread-with-wheat
    1. Bump up the fiber.
    Foods like whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables not only provide essential vitamins and minerals for you and your growing baby, they also contain fiber, which helps to aid digestion and prevent constipation, a common pregnancy symptom. But be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when increasing fiber intake or you may make your constipation worse.
  • woman writing in journal
    2. Plan ahead.
    Some pregnant women find that certain foods are more gas inducing than others. Common culprits include onions, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and cauliflower, as well as spicy, fried and fatty foods. Spend some time to plan a balanced diet so you can avoid the foods that pose problems for you. If you’re not sure what’s causing your digestion problem, keep a food diary with the date, time, what you ate and your symptoms, and do your best to avoid the foods that seem to be an issue.
  • dried-apricots
    3. Have a snack.
    For many pregnant women, nausea can be one of the most difficult symptoms to bear. It can seem counterintuitive, but eating something when you feel nauseous can actually provide relief. Some women find eating a snack first thing in the morning is helpful. Others prefer to suck on hard candy. If you take a prenatal vitamin, be sure to take it with a snack — never on an empty stomach, which can cause nausea or make it worse. Snacking, or eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help you avoid heartburn and that bloated or gassy feeling that comes with pregnancy. Keep crackers, dried fruit or cereal handy for snacking throughout the day.
  • glasses-of-water
    4. Hydrate.
    Drinking water is a must to help prevent constipation (as well as hemorrhoids and excessive swelling) during pregnancy, since waste moves through the body more slowly than usual, and needs plenty of water to help keep bowel movements soft. Pregnant women should shoot for about 10 cups of fluids a day, mostly from water, but which can also include juice, tea or soft drinks. Keep in mind that some drinks are high in sugar, which can lead to weight gain, and carbonated drinks may cause gas (though some find they calm the system and help relieve nausea).
  • laughing pregnant woman exercising
    5. Get moving.
    Exercise can help get things moving by stimulating digestion. Make it a part of your daily routine with a regular walk, jog or swim — whatever you enjoy the most — and it will help keep your bowel movements regular and prevent constipation. Most pregnant women can still enjoy their regular exercise activities throughout their pregnancy, but be sure to check with your doctor in case you have any special considerations.
  • pregnant-woman-taking-nap-on-couch
    6. Wait to lie down.
    During pregnancy, your body’s process of breaking down food becomes slower, allowing more time for the body to absorb nutrients. This means that food stays in your stomach longer, which may cause heartburn. One thing that can help (besides avoiding spicy, greasy and fatty foods) is to wait at least an hour after eating to lie down. This will give the food a chance to move through your system and prevent that burning feeling.
  • laxative-pills
    7. Consider stool softeners.
    If constipation is a problem for you, your doctor may prescribe a stool softener, which helps moisten bowel movements. Do not take laxatives for constipation during pregnancy unless you've cleared it with your doctor first. Even then, ask for a recommendation. Some are safer than others. If your digestion problems ever feel more like abdominal pain, or if you notice severe diarrhea or blood in your stool, let your doctor know. Also talk to your doctor if you are having ongoing problems that can’t be controlled with some of these lifestyle changes. He or she may prescribe medications that can help you get the relief you need for a smoother pregnancy.
7 Pregnancy Tips to Keep Your Digestive System Happy
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Last Review Date: 2022 Sep 16
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.