Have you been experiencing constipation, nausea, or heartburn since becoming pregnant? During pregnancy mamas often experience digestive issues. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate a troubled tummy. Yoga Mamas' Holistic Nutritionist, Sarah Robinson has listed 6 of her go-to tips:
1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Instead of eating three big meals a day, try eating smaller amounts frequently. This can help prevent you from being overly full at each meal, which can exacerbate nausea. This is especially important for mamas dealing with heartburn as well, since eating large quantities at once is a common trigger for heartburn.
2. Prioritize movement
Movement is important during pregnancy for many reasons, but it can also be really helpful in managing constipation. Walking in particular helps improve digestion and increase transit time (aka the total time that it takes for your food to be digested, from start to finish). Doing a couple of brisk walks a day, even for just 20 minutes or so can help improve your digestion. Instead of laying down after meals, getting up and going for walks can also help reduce heartburn. This is because being upright during the initial stages of digestion means that gravity is helping your food move south where it should be going, instead of back up.
3. Focus on fiber-rich foods
It can be tempting during pregnancy (especially when you’re nauseous) to mostly eat refined carbohydrates such as crackers, white bread, and pasta. These are okay in moderation, but they are quite low in dietary fiber and can make constipation worse. If you’re struggling with constipation during pregnancy, try including fiber-rich sources of carbohydrates such as oats, quinoa, whole grain crackers, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and fresh fruit.
4. Sip on ginger tea
Many people find that ginger is helpful in relieving nausea, and it’s a great option for pregnancy-induced nausea because fresh ginger is completely safe for mom and baby. You can easily make ginger tea by grating fresh ginger into hot water with a bit of lemon and honey. You can also purchase ginger lozenges to suck on when you’re out and about and the nausea hits.
5. Swap leafy greens for root vegetables
For many pregnant women with nausea and food aversions, leafy greens and raw vegetables are no longer appealing - especially during the first trimester. Instead of trying to force these foods down, opt for root vegetables instead, as these are generally easier to tolerate when nauseous. Root vegetables are also high in insoluble fiber, which helps speed up digestion and prevent constipation.
6. Slow down at meal time
Slowing down at meals and thoroughly chewing your food can help your food digest more efficiently. Most people assume that digestion begins in the stomach, but it actually begins in your mouth. When you chew your food, digestive enzymes are released into your saliva that starts to break down your food before it even hits your stomach. Chewing slowly and thoroughly ensures that these enzymes are able to do their job. Plus, breaking your food down into smaller pieces means that there is less work for your stomach to do. This will start the digestive process off on the right foot and can help ease pregnancy-related digestive issues.
Experiencing digestive issues or other pregnancy concerns? Book a complimentary session with Sarah, Yoga Mamas' Holistic Nutritionist.