Digestive Problems During Pregnancy: What To Do?

You’re looking forward to your baby, and now your gut is going crazy! You’re not alone in this: Many women experience digestive problems during pregnancy. In this article we will tell you what causes the symptoms, what you can do about it yourself and when they become dangerous.

In this article you will learn:

  • where digestive problems in pregnancy come from.
  • when to see a doctor.
  • why constipation is quite normal in pregnancy.
  • what you can do if you have intestinal problems during pregnancy so that you feel better.
  • what to do if you are constipated.
  • what helps against diarrhea.
  • how to relieve stomach ache and gas.

How pregnancy affects the intestines

A lot changes in your body in the second trimester of pregnancy. In the period between the 14th and 26th week you will find out what gender your baby is. Your stomach bulges more and more. And that often causes  digestive problems . During pregnancy, many women experience constipation, gas, nausea, and diarrhea.

One of the causes of the symptoms is the hormone  progesterone . When you’re pregnant, it ensures that all of your internal muscles relax. This is done to protect the unborn child from vibrations and thus prevent premature labor. However, the hormone also relaxes the muscles in the intestines. The result: he becomes sluggish. This means that the food stays in the digestive tract longer, causing symptoms such as gas and constipation.

But there are more causes for the problems. The growing uterus pushes the intestines to one side, which can be very painful. In addition, the normal weight gain of pregnancy becomes noticeable: the additional weight increases the  pressure on the digestive organs , especially on the intestines of the pregnant woman.

When to see the gynecologist

Slight digestive problems during this time are not a cause for concern. Constipation is pretty normal in early pregnancy. Pregnant women should go to the gynecologist if

  • you have severe diarrhea
  • the diarrhea lasts for more than two days
  • the stool is black or bloody
  • you have severe abdominal pain or cramps.
Do not hesitate to see a gynecologist if the digestive problems are severe or have persisted for a long time.

This also applies to abdominal pain that occurs every few minutes – it could be pain in  labor  .

Read More  Common questions about bowel movements

Why digestive problems are normal during pregnancy

Most women suffer from constipation during pregnancy. You will have fewer than three bowel movements a week, and those bowel movements are often painful because the stool is so firm. Important:  Do not try to push the chair out . This is generally not recommended, but especially not if you are pregnant. While clenching is not dangerous for the unborn child, it can cause enlarged hemorrhoids.

The well-perfused vascular cushions at the exit of the rectum are normal for everyone, but enlargement can lead to  bleeding, itching, oozing and, above all, pain  .

Why is constipation so common in pregnant women? In addition to the hormones already mentioned, which slow down the movements of the intestinal muscles, an elevated iron level can also   trigger constipation. The trace element is often found in food supplements and vitamins for pregnant women.

Be careful with laxatives

Basically there are many ways to help digestion. There are a few things to consider when you’re pregnant. This is especially true for medication. You should n’t use laxatives without consulting your doctor  . Some of these contain substances that can cause complications and harm you or your baby.

Your doctor can tell you which drugs to take during your pregnancy and which ones to avoid.

What pregnant women can do about digestive problems

There is a lot you can do yourself to avoid or at least reduce digestive problems during pregnancy. Basically, make sure  to eat slowly  and consciously chew. Drink enough fluids , preferably still water or herbal tea.

If you’re pregnant and prone to bowel problems, avoid eating  fatty, fried foods, and gasifying foods  like cabbage, onions, beans, spinach, and leeks.

Here you will find eleven delicious recipes against nausea during pregnancy.

High-fiber foods that gently stimulate the intestines are good for digestion  : vegetables such as carrots, fennel and tomatoes, whole grain products and fruit. It is best to eat a predominantly plant-based diet and prefer fresh products. See if you can handle smaller meals better than large ones. Also,  probiotics  such as yogurt or sauerkraut can do you any good. These foods contain healthy bacteria that build the intestinal flora.

Gentle helpers from nature

If that’s not enough: There are some gentle helpers that you can also take when you are pregnant – they support the intestines. These include  flax and flea seeds, wheat bran, and dried fruits . They stimulate bowel motility and work against constipation. You should soak dried figs or plums in water overnight beforehand, otherwise they would pull the liquid out of the intestines. Please always drink a large glass of water or tea when using these aids.

Read More  Why do I keep gas and gas after eating?
Caution: If you take any of the above helpers without enough fluids, they will encourage constipation instead of clearing it up.

Exercise is particularly effective against digestive problems during pregnancy  . Walk as often as you can and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Moderate sport is even better: Nordic walking, swimming, Pilates, pregnancy yoga and cycling at a moderate pace help digestion. If you have heartburn, put a thicker pillow under your head at night.

What can you do about constipation?

If your bowels became sluggish during pregnancy, make sure that you  drink plenty (especially still water or herbal tea) and that your food is high in  fiber. These fiber-rich ingredients from plant foods bind water in the intestines and can help soften hard stools. Flax seeds, flea seeds and dried fruit also have this effect.

It is similar with  gentle laxatives  like lactulose (a double sugar made from milk sugar) and macrogol (a synthetically made molecule). They increase the volume of the stool and make the stool soft. While pregnant women should generally be very careful with laxatives, these two active ingredients are also prescribed by doctors because the active ingredients do not get into the bloodstream.

What can you do about diarrhea?

Many women also experience diarrhea during pregnancy. Slight complaints are normal, because the  changed eating habits and the hormone change  are noticeable. In addition, some women cannot tolerate certain foods during this time or they take nutritional supplements or vitamins for pregnant women, which can possibly also cause digestive problems during pregnancy.

Certain minerals, such as magnesium, can soften stools or cause diarrhea.  You should see a doctor if

  • the pain comes very suddenly
  • they are associated with bleeding, fever, and vomiting
  • you experience weight loss
  • you have frequent diarrhea that lasts for days and is cramping.

You lose fluid through the watery stool and can easily become dehydrated. It can be dangerous when you are pregnant. Because: Your body loses  electrolytes, vitamins, nutrients and minerals as a result . You can recognize dehydration when your urine is dark yellow. Thirst, a dry, sticky mouth, dizziness, and decreased urine output are also signs. Make sure you drink enough, for example diluted juices and broth that is not too salty (vegetable broth is best).

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A fever is also a warning sign that you should take seriously. You should see a doctor as soon as possible, especially during pregnancy.

Be sure to also see your doctor if you notice blood in your stool.  Hemorrhoid symptoms can be one cause, but the doctor should rule out serious illnesses.

Abdominal pain and gas during pregnancy

Cramp-like abdominal pain  is not uncommon in expectant mothers, often due to the ligaments that hold the uterus in place. These ligaments stretch more and more during pregnancy and this can be very painful. But fibroids (benign ulcers in the uterus) or inflammation can also cause cramps – so make sure to talk to your gynecologist about your pain. Usually the causes are harmless, but in rare cases these can also be signs of an impending miscarriage.

Flatulence is very uncomfortable, but harmless  . Many women suffer from this when they are pregnant. The sluggish bowel is the reason here too. The accumulation of air causes cramp-like abdominal pain, and the air either escapes through the intestines or you have to burp.

If you have a tendency to build up air in your intestines, you should eat slowly.  Try to avoid flatulents  like carbonated drinks, garlic, cabbage vegetables, and beans. You should avoid raw milk cheese because it can be contaminated with germs (e.g. Listeria). This also applies to air-dried meat and sausage products, raw sprouts and raw eggs.

Eat small meals and drink plenty of water. Warm baths, a hot water bottle, the famous AFK tea (aniseed fennel caraway) or a gentle stomach massage can also do you good.

You should be very careful with medication during pregnancy. Painkillers, for example, can even lead to miscarriages. If you are constipated, ask your doctor about stool softeners like macrogol.

Digestive Problems During Pregnancy: What To Do?

You now know that digestive problems are not uncommon during pregnancy. One cause is the hormone progesterone. It relaxes the internal muscles and makes the bowel sluggish. Many women experience constipation, diarrhea, or other bowel problems when they are pregnant.  But there is a lot you can do yourself to get better.

In order to stimulate the lazy bowel, you should  drink a lot and eat foods rich in fiber . Also  moving  is good for digestion. You should only take medication after consulting your doctor, as some can harm you and your baby.

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