Gastrointestinal Symptoms during pregnancy
As the growing uterus presses on the rectum and intestines, constipation may occur. The muscular contractions in the intestines, which help to move food through the digestive tract, are slowed due to high levels of progesterone. This may, in turn, cause heartburn, indigestion and gas.
With gas, some women become so bloated that they are prevented from eating regularly and properly. By ensuring you have regular bowel movements (see below), eating many small meals instead of few big ones and eating slowly, you will avoid the risk of bloating and minimize your own discomfort. Also, be sure to steer clear of gas-producing food such as onions, cabbage, fried foods, rich sauces, sugary sweets and beans.
High levels of certain hormones circulating during pregnancy cause the muscles of the bowel to relax making bowel movements more sluggish. Also, the growing uterus puts pressure on the bowel, cramping its normal activity. The result is constipation. To prevent constipation, try to eat fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables and whole grain cereals or breads everyday. Also, try to drink eight to ten glasses of water everyday. Some of these servings can be substituted with fruit or vegetable juice. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, colas, and some other sodas), since caffeine makes your body lose fluid and won't help with constipation. Also, holding in bowel movements can weaken muscles that control them and lead to constipation. So when you have to go, go!