Is constipation, heartburn, or bloating troubling you, Mom-to-be? ‘Morning sickness’ nausea is a well-known pregnancy niggle, but there are other lesser known – and equally uncomfortable – tummy troubles too.
Increased progesterone and eating more processed comfort foods may cause fermenting and gas.
What to do:
- Limit processed and refined grain products like cereals, pastries, pizzas, and bread
- Use dairy products cautiously
- Eat slowly to avoid swallowing air
Progesterone relaxes the bowel muscle wall, and waste is moved more slowly through the system. Iron and folic acid in pregnancy supplements can cause hard stools too.
What to do:
- Every day, drink 1.5l of water, eat at least five pieces of fruit, and walk briskly for 20–30 minutes
- Sip a cup of boiling water first thing in the morning, and last thing at night
- Try to eat your main meal in the afternoon, and don’t eat at least three hours before bedtime
Don’t use laxatives; they can cause dehydration and contractions!
You guessed it – progesterone is often the cause! It relaxes the valve separating the gullet and the stomach, allowing gastric acid to seep up. Baby can also push against the stomach, pushing the acidic contents through to the gullet.
What to do:
- Eat smaller meals more regularly, and avoid spicy, rich, and fatty foods
- Don’t eat at least three hours before bedtime, and chew a mint leaf
- Raise the head of your bed a bit, or sleep on a continental pillow or two
Feeling a bit sensitive?
Tummy troubles may be linked to emotion, and pregnancy nausea is usually worse in anxious women. This makes sense; stress is a nervous condition, and 95% of the mood controlling hormone, serotonin, is found in the gut; even where emotions don’t directly cause the reactions, they can make them worse.
Pregnancy Diet ABCs
Whether you’ve got one of these tummy grumbles or not, there are some basic eating guidelines that will help to ensure healthy digestion – and fewer niggles…
Avoid processed and saturated fatty foods
Be seated when you eat so your body can focus on digestion
Cruise through meals; don’t eat too fast or too slow
Don’t skip meals regularly
Ease up on drinking during mealtimes, this dilutes the digestive juices
Feeling full? Don’t eat any more!
If your pregnancy supplement is causing tummy trouble, you may need to switch brands, or opt for food sources of the nutrients instead.
So, what are progesterone’s benefits?
Although progesterone is linked to many tummy troubles, it’s actually called the ‘pro-gestational’ hormone! It keeps the placenta functioning properly and makes sure the uterine lining is thick and healthy. It’s important for the development of Baby, stimulates the growth of breast tissue, and strengthens the pelvic wall muscles in preparation for labour. Progesterone levels rise steadily throughout pregnancy until Baby is born. The benefits definitely outweigh the niggles – don’t you agree?