The digestive system is a complex network of organs that work together to help your body to break down food and absorb nutrients. It includes your:

  • esophagus
  • stomach
  • liver
  • small intestine
  • mouth
  • anus

Absorption of nutrients is always important for overall energy and cellular function and are even more crucial in supporting a growing fetus.

Digestive issues occur in pregnancy because of the increasing hormones that relax muscles in the digestive tract. Natural weight gain from supporting your baby can also put additional pressure on the digestive tract.

Common digestive issues include:


Constipation is a common symptom during pregnancy, and it’s more prevalent during the second trimester. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) defines constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements per week.

Hormone levels can slow down bowel movements. Bowel movements might be painful or difficult, and your belly might swell.

High iron levels in the supplements can contribute to constipation.


Dietary changes are the most practical way to treat constipation during pregnancy  and also the safest way. 

  • Natural fiber intake of 20-35 grams per day can offset constipation problems.
  • Plant sources are your key to fiber, so make sure to eat plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
  • Avoid holding bowel movements
  • Drink plenty of water(avoid sugary beverages as they can make constipation worse)
  • Exercise regularly to encourage movement in your bowels

As a last resort, your doctor might recommend a laxative or fiber supplement to soften and ease your bowel movements. Never take these without consulting your doctor. Diarrhea is a common side effect of these products, which can lead to dehydration and cause complications during pregnancy.


A slower bowel movements during the second trimester can lead to gas buildup causing:

  • abdomen pain
  • cramps
  • burping
  • passing gas

You can’t change the way your digestive system works during pregnancy, but you can help speed it up by avoiding trigger foods that lead to gas.

Try to cut down:

  • carbonated beverages
  • dairy products
  • veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • garlic
  • spinach
  • potatoes
  • beans and other high-fiber foods, which you should cut only if you don’t have problems with constipation

The way of eating can also make gas worse. Try eating smaller meals and eating slowly to avoid swallowing air. 

If these changes doesn’t help, talk to your doctor.Don’t take any supplements or herbs without checking with your doctor first.



Heartburn occurs when stomach acids leak back into the esophagus. Also called acid reflux. 

You might feel an uncomfortable burning sensation in your throat and chest shortly after you eat.

Many foods can contribute to heartburn. 

Consider avoiding:

  • greasy, fatty, and fried foods
  • spicy foods
  • garlic
  • onions
  • caffeine

Eating large meals and lying down immediately after eating can also lead to heartburn.

Elevate your pillow during bedtime to help prevent heartburn at night. 

Call your doctor if you have heartburn frequently, at least twice per week. They may recommend antacids for relief.

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