Some women sail through pregnancy without even a burp. Others deal with morning sickness, heartburn and other digestive system woes. Learn how to ease symptoms and feel better.
Heartburn or Gas
You might get heartburn while pregnant because stomach muscles relax and food tends to back up. In addition, sometimes the pressure of the growing baby forces acid upward.
Here’s how to cool the burn:
- Identify and avoid foods that give you heartburn. Common culprits include greasy, fried or highly seasoned foods and acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, red peppers and chocolate.
- Avoid coffee and cigarettes, which irritate the stomach.
- Eat several small meals a day, rather than three large meals.
- Coat your stomach and esophagus by sipping water, milk, carbonated water or papaya juice, or by eating 1/2 tablespoon yogurt, cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water: at least eight to ten 8-ounce glasses daily.
- Wear loose clothing, especially around your waist.
- Don’t lie down right after eating. When you do lie down, use pillows to slightly raise your head.
- Try the “flying exercise:” While standing, raise and lower your arms quickly, bringing the backs of your hands together over your head. Repeat several times.
- Take a leisurely walk, or sit quietly and breathe deeply.
- Consult with your healthcare provider before taking any antacids. Ask which ones are low in salt. Use antacids only occasionally; they contain minerals that may be harmful in large amounts.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea sometimes occurs early in pregnancy and usually goes away after the third month. Although it’s called “morning sickness,” it can happen any time, day or night, or not at all. Different remedies help different women, so give these a try:
- Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning. Put them close to your bed the night before.
- Get out of bed slowly. Avoid sudden movements.
- Eat small meals several times during the day so your stomach doesn’t remain empty for too long. Eat lightly seasoned foods and avoid eating anything spicy.
- Eat high-protein meals (lean meats, beans, legumes), complex carbohydrates (whole-grain crackers, breads, potatoes, brown rice) and fruit and fruit juices. Such foods help prevent low blood sugar, which can cause nausea.
- Drink soups and other liquids between meals, rather than with meals.
- Avoid greasy or fried foods, which are hard to digest and may cause nausea.
- Open windows or use the exhaust fan to get rid of odors while cooking.
- Sip soda water (carbonated water or ginger ale) when you feel nauseated.
- Drink herbal teas such as ginger, spearmint, peppermint or raspberry leaf. Some herbs aren’t suitable to use during pregnancy, so check with your healthcare provider first.
- Fresh air may help. Take a short walk or try sleeping with a window open.
- Suck on cold foods such as ice pops.
- Try using motion bands on your wrists.
If you can’t stop vomiting or can’t keep fluids down, contact your doctor.