Tips to Manage Pregnancy related Gastrointestinal issues

Gastrointestinal

Pregnancy is the most unexceptional moment in a woman’s life with a rollercoaster of emotions. As a baby grows, the body of a pregnant woman will change constantly thereby causing various gastrointestinal issues. Also, you may have a strong desire for all of the world’s delectable meals and go insane over them, but limiting your taste buds for a few months and being extra careful with your diet can be good for you and your child. Keep reading to find more details about common gastrointestinal issues during pregnancy and also some tips to manage it.

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How does your digestion change during pregnancy?

Pregnancy can give tremendous pressure to the digestive system of a woman. As the baby develops, it may press the oesophagus, stomach as well as intestine. This can result in digestive issues. Also, the elevation of pregnancy hormones including oestrogen and progesterone can impact digestion and cause gastrointestinal issues like nausea or vomiting, frequent burping, acid reflux, bloating, constipation. Every trimester brings about a variety of physical changes, many of which might affect the gastrointestinal system.

Also check, Foods to be avoided for pregnant ladies

Gastrointestinal issues1st Trimester2nd Trimester3rd Trimester
Morning sickness
Constipation
Diarrhea
Acid reflux
Food cravings
Food sensitivities
Upper GI pain
Bloating
Gall stones 

Although these are general symptoms, each person may experience them differently depending on their hormones and diet.

Also check, Foods to increase breast milk supply

Tips for managing the symptoms of pregnancy related gastrointestinal issues

Here are some common pregnancy related gastrointestinal issues and also some of the tips to manage the symptoms:

1.Morning sickness

Around 8 out of 10 pregnant women are dealing with morning sickness. It can cause nausea or vomiting as well as upset stomach.  Although the exact cause is unclear, experts believe that hormonal shifts are to blame.

Tips to manage morning sickness

  • Drink plenty of water. Sip water on a regular basis to avoid being dehydrated.
  • Try ginger, sour candies and mint 
  • Consume little low-fat and high-carb meals frequently
  • Eliminate nausea triggering foods and odours
  • Sleep more (Tiredness can increase the vomiting sensation)

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2. Diarrhea

Early pregnancy diarrhea and watery stool are frequently brought on by food changes and also hormonal shifts. Pregnancy raises the oxytocin hormone levels, which causes the digestive tract to contract more and function quickly.

Tips to manage diarrhea

  • Drink plenty of water. Sip water on a regular basis to avoid being dehydrated.
  • Add probiotics and prebiotics in your diet to improve the gut health and digestion
  • Try banana, buttermilk, boiled potato and rice water.
  • Avoid fried or spicy foods and limit dairy foods.

Also check, Home remedies for diarrhea

3. Constipation

Constipation is a very common problem during pregnancy. This can be caused due to the pressure in the intestine. As the baby develops, the progesterone hormone levels will significantly increase which leads to delay in the movement of intestines and constipation.

Tips to manage constipation

  • Increase the fluid intake 
  • Consume fibre rich foods like vegetables, sprouts and fruits
  • Include probiotic foods in your diet
  • Include simple physical exercises like walking in your routine

Also check, Fibre rich foods to prevent constipation

4. Acid reflux

Up to half of pregnant women will experience acid reflux when they reach their third trimester. Due to pregnancy-related hormonal imbalances,  the muscle between the oesophagus and stomach relaxes throughout pregnancy. Also, the pressure on the stomach also grows as the uterus expands. Acid reflux is likely to occur because of these issues.

Tips to manage acid reflux or heartburn

  • Instead of eating three full meals, eat small meals when you are hungry.
  • Don’t eat quickly
  • Avoid fried or spicy foods 
  • Don’t consume citrus fruits or juice.
  • Restrict your caffeine (coffee or tea) intake.

Also check, Home remedies for acid reflux

5. Bloating

Hormonal changes during pregnancy are one potential reason for bloating. As a result of the womb’s relaxation caused by pregnancy hormones, digestion is slowed. Bloating can be frequently associated with frequent belching and constipation.

Tips to manage bloating

  • Increase the fluid intake 
  • Consume fibre rich foods like vegetables, sprouts and fruits
  • Include probiotic foods in your diet
  • Avoid drinking fizzy drinks
  • Avoid gassy foods (some millets and legumes)

Also check, Foods that cause bloating

Foods that help to manage gastrointestinal issues

1.Probiotic foods
YOGURT:

Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, which helps in strengthening the digestive tract and also promotes gut health. It is high in protein, calcium, vitamins and also probiotics which can enhance the good bacteria in the gut. Yogurt is the best food for gut health.

Also check, Foods to increase breast size

KEFIR:

Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt that is made from kefir grains, which are high in good bacteria. The process of making is similar to yogurt, but the fermentation process in Kefir is for 24 hours. The result is not a sour curd, but rather a tasty one. You can also load it up with nuts, seeds and also berries to make a shake high in antioxidants, probiotics and prebiotics.

Also check, 12 Best foods to increase breast milk quality

FERMENTED FOOD:

People have been using fermentation techniques from ages to boost food’s shelf life and to increase its nutritive values. It’s a process through which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria convert the carbohydrates in the food to acids, which act as a natural preservative and also promotes the growth of good bacteria. They are the best food to treat gastrointestinal issues. Some fermented foods are kimchi, made from fermented vegetables such as radish and cabbage; it’s a popular Korean dish. Miso is a Japanese seasoning, made from fermented soybeans. Sauerkraut is a traditional food of Europe and made from fermenting finely chopped cabbage. Traditional buttermilk is the leftover liquid you can get during the making of butter and also contains lots of probiotics.

Also check, Causes of libido loss in men

CHEESE:

Cheese is good for gut health. There are many kinds of cheese which are prepared by fermentation, but all do not contain probiotics. Only soft cheeses made up of unpasteurized milk, such as cheddar, mozzarella and also Swiss are rich in probiotics. The longer the cheese ages the more beneficial bacteria develops in it for your gut health.

Also check, How age affects libido in women?

KANJI:

Kanji is a popular Indian fermented drink, which contains lots of gut friendly bacteria (probiotics) which aids in digestion and also reduces bloating, gas and promotes a healthy gut. It has a tangy, spice and tart flavor. In India, it is used as a detox drink after festival binge eating, which helps in gastrointestinal issues. However, there are many ways of making kanji, the most popular is carrot kanji. It is made by fermenting carrots along with salt, mustard seeds and asafoetida (heeng).

Also check,What are some foods for healthy gut

2.Prebiotics
Onion:

It has prebiotic effects which strengthen gut flora, that help with fat breakdown and boost your immune system and improve digestion. Onion is also rich in antioxidants called flavonoids quercetin which help fight free radicals. Onion is also rich in vitamin C, B vitamins like folate (B9), pyridoxine (B6) and potassium, which aids in metabolism, red blood cell production and nerve function.

Also check, Home remedy to cure cough using onion?

Garlic:

Garlic is a prebiotic that is naturally high in inulin, a type of non- digestible carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria in your gut and restrict disease causing bacteria from growing at the same time. Pickled garlic is best for gut health.

Also check,Easy to feed Omega-3 for kids brain development

Banana:

Apart from being rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium and Vitamin B9, it also has prebiotic effects and a small amount of inulin. Banana is high in fiber and prebiotics, both of which support smooth digestion.

Also check, 7 super nutritious foods for weight gain

Sprouted grains:

The concentration of fiber increases in sprouted grains. Fiber is one of the most important components for maintaining gut health. Fiber nourishes the good bacteria in the gut and also promotes elimination and detoxification of the colon.

Also check, What is the need to sprout grains?

Apple:

Apple has outstanding health benefits as it is rich in fiber, Vitamin C, antioxidants and potassium. It has pectin, a type of soluble fiber, which has prebiotic effects and also promotes healthy gut microbiota. Pectin increases butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that feeds beneficial gut bacteria and also decreases the population of harmful bacteria.

Also check, Benefits of apple and banana for kids

3. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are entirely healthy to eat during pregnancy when consumed in moderation. During pregnancy, it is advised that you limit your intake of nuts and seeds to no more than 100 grams per day. For example, you could consume four to seven almond pieces, around four walnut halves, few seeds and roughly eight pistachios at once. However, if you consume them excessively, you could have health issues like gastrointestinal problems and also excessive weight gain.

Also check, Best nuts and seeds for protein


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6 Best foods for digestion and constipation in kids

What is Digestion & why is it important for overall health?

Child’s gut is responsible for the child’s overall health and is connected to the child’s immune system, mood, mental health and body functioning.  Most of the diseases emerge in the gut, which is a component of a child’s digestive system.  Digestive tract plays a vital role in our body, as it is responsible for absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste. Digestion means breaking down food into nutrients, which is further used by the body for energy, growth and cell repair. If you want to set your child up for a lifetime of good health, it is essential to flourish the child’s digestive system with healthy bacteria.  Symptoms of digestive problems include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, bloating, gas which negatively affects your child’s growth and development. In this article, you will learn about 6 best foods for digestion and constipation in kids. (How to boost immunity in kids?)

Preventive measures to improve the digestive system of kids:

  • Introducing small meals
  • Chewing food slowly and carefully
  • Fibre rich seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Intake of plenty of water to cleanse child’s digestive system
  • Enough sleep helps to rejuvenate the child’s digestive system (Which foods help to sleep well?)
  • Reduced processed foods

What is constipation?

Constipation is a common problem in kids of all ages. Almost 1 out of 20 children is fighting with this. It is a condition when bowel movement becomes less frequent and stool becomes difficult to pass, which can cause pain and discomfort. Food rich in fiber can help in constipation. Every child has different bowel patterns; some children have bowel movement 1 to 2 times a day, while other children go once in two to three days. Constipation is not just about how often your baby poops, but it’s also about how difficult it is for your baby to poop (hard stool or hard potty). As long as your child is healthy and passes normal stool without any pain or discomfort, having a bowel movement every third day is normal.

Symptoms of constipation in babies:

  1. Less than three bowel movement per week
  2. Stool that is dry, hard and difficult to pass
  3. Crying during bowel movement
  4. Abdominal pain
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Feeling of bloating or uncomfortable
  7. Holding behavior such as crossing legs, clenching teeth, refusing to sit on the toilet, turning red in the face
  8. Trace of liquid stool in your child’s underwear
  9. Blood on the surface of hard stool

6 Best foods for Digestion & Constipation in kids:

Almonds:

Almonds are one of the best foods for digestion as they are rich in vitamin E and fiber, which promotes digestive health by increasing good bacteria in the gut. Each one ounce of almonds contains 4 grams of fiber and is also packed with healthy fats and protein. Hence, almonds are one of the best foods for digestion. Kids having constipation is very common nowadays primarily due to the food choices being high in sugar and sodium. 50% of any quantity of Almond is just fibre which helps in relieving constipation. (What are some brain foods for kids?)

Cashews:

Cashews are good source of fibre which aids in better digestion. Some research suggests that consuming whole, raw cashews benefits in weight loss too since only 70% fat of the nut is absorbed by the body and the rest is excreted with fibre. However excessive consumption may cause bloating.

Hazelnuts:

Hazelnuts are high in vitamin E, protein, healthy fat and dietary fiber which supports healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. One ounce of hazelnuts contains around 2.7grams of your daily requirement of fiber. Therefore, hazelnuts are one of the best foods for digestion.

Seeds: 

Seeds like pumpkin, melon and sunflower are are also healthy foods for digestion. They are high in fat, mono and poly-unsaturated fats, Vitamin E, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and vitamin K. Pumpkin seeds solve dietary deficiencies, while sunflower and melon seeds boost metabolism and aids in digestion. Melon seeds are also a good source of zinc and it helps to boost our immunity, helps in digestion and overall growth and development. Sabja seeds and Chia seed benefits in treating digestion issues too, as both of them are high in fiber.

Herbs:

Since time immemorial, herbs like ashwagandha, mulethi, turmeric, shallaki, and brahmi have been shown to aid in various health benefits. Ashwagandha and Mulethi aid digestion and nutrition absorption and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestine. Brahmi and turmeric also helps to keep digestive issues at bay. Shallaki or Boswellia serrata has strong anti-inflammatory properties which helps to fight against inflammatory disorders of the digestive tract including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis etc.

Antioxidants – Vitamin E and rosemary extract:

Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, help to keep cells healthy by fighting free radicals. Rosemary extract is high in iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, and B6, and is commonly used to treat digestive issues and a lack of appetite. Antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and herbs and spices. (How Makhana or lotus seeds can help with digestion?)

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON INGREDIENTS FOR Proper Digestion:

Turmeric/Curcumin: There is proven scientific research that supports how turmeric helps to promote digestive disorders. Read here:

Licorice/Mulethi/ Glycyrrhiza glabra: Here you can read the scientific study on how licorice helps in digestive health.

Nuts: Scientific research shows that high fiber content in nuts helps to prevent constipation. Read here.

Foods to avoid

Refined sugar: Excess sugar intake could affect digestion and digestive system, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome. Moreover, sugar damages the protein in our body, resulting in ageing of organs, which further compromises immunity, growth and functioning. Greatest source of sugar in the average kid’s diet are sugary snacks and beverages like cookies, cakes, candies, fruit juice, soda, and sports drinks. Everything that the child picks up to eat today has strains of added sugar in some form or the other.

Preservatives: Preservatives are linked with many health issues like gut health and inflammatory bowel disorders. Most of the packaged food companies are adding artificial preservatives to delay spoilage and contamination in foods.  Artificial preservatives such as nitrates, benzoates, sulfites, sorbates, parabens, formaldehyde, BHT, BHA and several others can cause serious health hazards such as hypersensitivity, allergy, asthma, hyperactivity, neurological damage.

Refined oil: The high temperature involved in the refining process removes all the natural and beneficial substances from the oil, which is not good for the digestive as well as respiratory health and ultimately affects your overall growth.

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