Indigestion During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Treatment and Fun Facts!

Indigestion During Pregnancy

Indigestion during pregnancy is about as likely as receiving a few too many onesies at a baby shower. As pregnancy progresses, so do the gastrointestinal ails that can accompany it such as gas, stomach bloating, nausea, constipation and diarrhea. In fact, many women complain of chronic indigestion during this time. Chronic indigestion is simply that which is encountered more frequently than acute cases and some women can experience it almost all the way through their pregnancy whether triggered by what they eat, when they eat or how much they eat. And, indigestion and nausea, one of the most common complaints of pregnant women (think “morning sickness”) also go hand in hand.

One of the most common complaints is indigestion pain. It can be caused by many factors, but one of the most common is simply gas. The sad truth is that pregnant women can be a bit gassier than they were pre-baby bump. Sometimes, this can be attributed to foods they are eating such as those high in fiber. When intestinal gas builds up in the digestive system and is not released via burp or backside, it can create immense pain. And, WebMD notes that pressure placed on the uterus by the stomach when the baby belly is getting bigger and bigger can also play a factor in contributing to indigestion pain.

Typically, the symptoms of indigestion during pregnancy are treated individually, just like they are for the non-pregnant crowd. Heartburn like symptoms are treated with remedies for same, and diarrhea is often alleviated with over the counter remedies. Constipation, a common symptom of indigestion, can be treated with home remedies or over the counter preparations. Although home remedies can be more suitable for use during pregnancy as they contain less medicinal ingredients that some may elect to forego while expecting. Constipation relief during pregnancy for instance, can be achieved via dried fruits and molasses and honey, all food based options for safe, effective and natural relief. In fact, symptom treatment options should be discussed with a healthcare provider for any over the counter remedies because not all of them are safe for pregnant women.

For instance, ranitidine is a medication that is often used for the treatment of heartburn, a common source of indigestion during pregnancy. It is more commonly known as Zantac. But, while symptom relief may seem quick and easy with the well known over the counter remedy, it is listed as a category B medication. This means that either the medication demonstrated that there was no fetal risk in animal studies and that no studies have been conducted on pregnant women; or, a risk to animal fetuses was determined in studies, but existing studies on pregnant women indicated that there was no risk during any stage of pregnancy, according to Wikipedia, referencing the FDA. Therefore, its use for indigestion during pregnancy should be discussed with a health care provider before doing so.

But, not everything about indigestion symptoms during pregnancy has to be all doom and gloom. Some interesting myths have long been passed down relating to the ailment serving as pre-delivery indicators. For instance, Livestrong references a Johns Hopkins University study that set out to determine whether or not the old wives tale of babies being born with more hair to mothers that suffered from indigestion during gestation. Shockingly, they found that higher hormone levels like estrogen (thought to be a cause of indigestion during pregnancy) can contribute to more baby hair, thus lending a shred of credibility to the interesting myth. But, another wives tale concerning indigestion and baby gender, where the presence of such during the first trimester can indicate a boy at delivery time does not hold any weight. The fun fact truth behind baby gender is that it can only be determined in a doctor’s office (and, even then they may have difficulty determining it!)

The truth is that indigestion is just simply a common part of being pregnant. Just like swollen ankles and hot flashes, the fluctuating hormones and changing physical characteristics associated with growing another human on the inside can take a major toll on the body in terms of symptom display. Compounding matters is the fact that pregnancy can put a marked limitation on the available remedies to treat many of the symptoms. However, pregnancy is simply a short term discomfort that leads to a lifetime of happiness.