Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy and this can lead to various symptoms, indigestion being one of them.
In fact, it is very common in pregnancy, with many women experiencing it at some point, but it is not usually a cause for concern.
Often, the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can lead to indigestion, and your growing womb can press into your stomach, meaning stomach acid can move into the oesophagus, causing burning or pain.
Sometimes, change to your diet and lifestyle may be all that is needed to treat your symptoms, but if you are experiencing them regularly or for long periods and it’s affecting your day-to-day life, it’s best to speak to someone about it.
There are treatments that are safe to take in pregnancy, and our online doctors are here to provide help and support.
How does indigestion affect you if you’re pregnant?
The burning sensation or pain of indigestion is caused by stomach acid moving up into the oesophagus, because of irritation or inflammation in your stomach.
It can be caused by something as simple as eating too quickly or too much, which can stretch the lining of your stomach, causing irritation and pain. Slowing down or eating smaller meals should help prevent it in future.
Or it could be that you are over sensitive to certain types of food, such as fatty and spicy food, which are known to cause indigestion in some people. You could keep a food diary to see which food agree and disagree with you to try and prevent it in future.
Indigestion pregnancy symptoms can include:
- Heartburn – this is a burning sensation in your chest
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling full and heavy after eating
- Feeling sick
- Stomach cramps
- Growling stomach
- Passing wind
- Loss of appetite
- Bringing up bitter, acidic tasting fluid
The pain and discomfort of indigestion will usually pass, and it does not usually need any medical attention. However, if you are pregnant and experiencing recurring indigestion or long periods of indigestion, you should speak to a doctor, who can rule out any underlying conditions.
Indigestion treatments in pregnancy
The good news is that there are things that can help treat your indigestion. They may include:
- A change of diet
- Lifestyle changes
Over-the-counter indigestion medication may help treat the problem. These include:
Antacids are a quick way to reduce the burning sensation indigestion can cause. They work by neutralising the acid that is in your stomach, to stop any irritation. They only last for a short time, but you can usually take more than one dose – check with the pharmacist or read the patient information included before taking them, to make sure that they are suitable for you.
Alginate medication is used to treat acid reflux by creating a barrier in your stomach to keep the acid away from the oesophagus.
If these kinds of changes do not work, you can speak to our doctors, who will be able to look into what is causing your indigestion and recommend how to treat it.
Likewise, if you are having trouble eating, or keeping food down, have unexplained weight loss, or are suffering from stomach pains, you should seek medical advice.
Other types of indigestion treatment
If you have recurring indigestion or if it is particularly severe, it may not respond to these types of medication and an alternative course of treatment may be prescribed by a doctor – again, it will be something that is safe to take in pregnancy.
The treatment will depend on the cause of your indigestion, and you may be referred for further tests to identify the exact cause, but it could include:
- PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, which restrict the production of acid in your stomach.
- H2-receptor antagonists, which lower the amount of acid you have in your stomach.
If you are currently on medication, such as antidepressants, these could be causing your indigestion. If you believe this could be the case, our doctors may be able to prescribe an alternative. However, you should never stop taking your medication before speaking to a doctor.