Did you know that indigestion is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy with as many as 80% of women experiencing it?1
There are many things that could be causing the issue to arise, such as hormonal changes early on in the pregnancy which can affect how digestive muscles work, or the physical pressure of the baby pushing on your stomach and intestines later on in the pregnancy. Whilst it is very common to experience these symptoms, they can be painful and make being pregnant that much harder on your body.
Here we will talk through a few simple lifestyle changes that can have a big effect and help ease the painful symptoms of heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy.
Allow Food to Digest
It is very important to allow your body time to properly digest your food when trying to avoid heartburn and indigestion. With that in mind, you should allow yourself three to four hours after eating before you lay down. Laying in a horizontal position can make it easier for the stomach to rise back up into the oesophagus.
Another thing to think about when going to bed is placing something underneath your mattress, which will keep your upper body elevated whilst you sleep. Again, this will make it harder for any stomach acid to rise into your oesophagus whilst you sleep, causing that burning pain in your chest.
Find and Eliminate Trigger Foods
Different foods affect different people so it is important to work out what foods trigger your heartburn and indigestion symptoms. To work out what affects you, try keeping a food diary and noting down any foods or drinks that make you feel ill. Common problem foods are chocolate, fruit juices, caffeine or spicy, rich or fatty foods.
Sitting Up Straight
Sitting up with your back straight when you are eating and for another half an hour afterwards, can be a simple and easy way to help avoid indigestion when you are pregnant as sitting in this position will take pressure off of your stomach – as long, of course, as this is comfortable for you and you have enough support for your back.
Avoid Bending Over When Possible
Of course, you may need to bend over to pick something up from time to time, as long as it is safe and comfortable for you to do so, but where possible try to just bend your knees rather than bending down from your waist.
Wear Loose Fitting Clothing
Apart from being more comfortable whilst you are pregnant, loose-fitting clothing can affect your heartburn and indigestion symptoms for the better. Tight clothes, especially around the waistband can put pressure on your stomach so maternity wear can be great to help reduce symptoms.
If some of these lifestyle changes still aren’t helping, you could try an over the counter option. Gaviscon is suitable to use when you are pregnant and is an effective way to help combat the pain of heartburn and indigestion. Be sure that you check the label first to make sure it is pregnancy friendly option. Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine in pregnancy.
If your heartburn continues to persist or you are worried about it, you may want to book in an appointment with a GP or midwife.
All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Gaviscon for heartburn and indigestion. Always read the label. Suitable from 12 years old. If symptoms are severe or prolonged you should contact a doctor or pharmacist.
Article published 1 January 2021