Once the queasiness of early pregnancy melts away, most of the expecting mothers anticipate they can again start to eat food without any issues. Unfortunately, this expectation lasts only until indigestion makes its way in. Though this discomfort can occur anytime during gestation, the symptoms generally appear in the second and third trimesters.
Most of the expecting mothers are found to experience indigestion in the course of pregnancy. The odds of experiencing a totally indigestion-free pregnancy are thin to none. The good news is pregnancy-induced indigestion can be easily treated and it ought to vanish soon after delivery.
Indigestion, also called dyspepsia, refers to digestion related pain or distress in the abdomen. The signs of dyspepsia can be more annoying for an expecting woman than a woman who is not pregnant.
Expecting mothers are prone to indigestion mainly because of two reasons. The foremost reason is the hormonal change. The pregnancy hormone, relaxin—which is responsible for loosening the joints and connective tissue for a trouble-free delivery— also slows down the digestion process, which means food stays in the stomach longer, triggering more acid production. Secondly, the developing child applies pressure along both the abdomen and the lower valve of the esophagus. This increases the probability of stomach contents along with the gastric juices to flow upwards into the esophagus triggering the vomiting sensation and pain.
An expecting mother will be more prone to indigestion if:
No. Though uncomfortable and sometimes painful for the expecting mother, indigestion causes no harm to the baby.
The signs of indigestion can range from lenient (mostly) to severe (rarely). The symptoms of indigestion include one or more of the following conditions:
The signs of indigestion have a tendency to happen in sessions, appearing and disappearing, rather than persisting throughout the day. The symptoms are found to increase both in frequency and in severity towards the last trimester.
The disturbing symptoms of indigestion during pregnancy are due to acid reflux. That is, leakage of the acids produced in the stomach flowing into the food pipe or esophagus. Unlike the stomach, the esophagus cannot fight off the damages caused by the acid, if an unusual amount of acid refluxes into it. If the acid from the stomach enters the food pipe, it can cause inflammation on its lining bringing about all the disturbing symptoms like pain, burning sensation, etc.
The esophagus is protected by a circular band of muscle called the lower esophagus sphincter (LES) which acts as a valve– allowing the food from the food pipe to pass into the stomach tightens so as to not allow the contents of the stomach to reflux into the esophagus. This function of the sphincter gets affected in the course of pregnancy, mainly due to two reasons:
You will most likely need to adjust with some heartburn during pregnancy. Yet,there are several tips to prevent the frequency and intensity of indigestion.
If the preventive measures don’t help and the symptoms of indigestion are bothering you, consult your doctor. Never go for an over the counter medicines without getting a green signal from the doctor. Medications available to treat indigestion during pregnancy are:
If acid-neutralizing medicines don’t work out your doctor will prescribe acid-suppressing medicines like:
Identifying and eliminating the food that triggers indigestion can help to prevent the symptoms of indigestion during pregnancy. Some food stimulates relaxation of the lower esophagus sphincter. Remember that, not all the food mentioned here will always trigger indigestion. The effects vary from person to person. However, most commonly found indigestion-causing foods are:
Some other foods can also cause indigestion. Therefore, it is better to maintain a diary, entering all the food and drinks you have had (do not forget to enter time) daily. This will help you to pin down the food, which cause indigestion and avoid it in the course of pregnancy.
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