Tips for Supporting Digestion while Pregnant – Needed
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With the holidays around the corner, digestion is on the minds of many. Being pregnant during the holidays comes with added digestive challenges, like heartburn, bloating, constipation, feelings of fullness, and more.
Plus, improper digestion can impair nutrient absorption, and pregnancy certainly isn’t the time you want to mess with nutrient depletion. Here are 7 tips to help naturally support your digestion while pregnant so that you can get through the holiday season feeling comfortable and optimally nourished.
1. Stay hydrated
Water helps to keep food moving through the digestive tract. Not drinking enough water is a common cause of constipation. Your hydration needs are elevated when pregnant, so it’s important to focus on getting enough water. Of course, water alone isn’t always enough to hydrate properly, so consider adding a pregnancy-safe electrolyte supplement like Needed’s Hydration Support.
Other ways to stay hydrated include soups, smoothies, pregnancy-safe herbal teas, and bone broth.
2. Manage stress
Pregnancy + holidays is a stressful combination. But stress has been associated with a number of digestive concerns, from nausea and ulcers to diarrhea and constipation.
Stress hormones like cortisol directly affect your digestion. When your body is in a stressed out or sympathetic state (also known as fight-or-flight mode) it directs all of its resources toward essential bodily functions like vision and cardiovascular functions, and diverts energy away from “nonessential” functions like digestion and reproduction. This means that your digestion will slow, leading to discomforts like bloating and constipation.
Some effective ways to manage stress include mindfulness activities like breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. You can also take a pregnancy-safe supplement like Needed’s Sleep and Relaxation Support. It includes magnesium for relaxation, L-theanine which promotes alpha-wave brain activity, the brain waves that help reduce stress and anxiety, L-glycine for improved sleep quality, and chamomile which is traditionally used to promote overall relaxation.
3. Chew thoroughly
Digestion starts in your mouth, and the process of chewing helps to activate your body’s digestive enzymes which help to break down your food.
Chewing food thoroughly helps to take some burden off of the rest of your digestive system, which alleviates symptoms like indigestion, bloating, and heartburn. Try to focus on eating slowly and mindfully without distraction to support your body’s natural digestive process.
4. Take digestive enzymes
We know that digestive enzymes are essential for healthy digestion, but sometimes, even with adequate chewing, the body isn’t able to produce enough on its own.
Modern food processing depletes food of naturally-occurring enzymes, and oftentimes pregnant mamas don’t produce enough themselves. That’s what taking a pregnancy-safe digestive enzyme supplement can help. Needed’s Digestive Enzymes support digestive comfort and overall gut health, plus nutrient absorption which helps immunity, energy levels, and mental alertness.
5. Introduce gentle movement
Even light exercise can help food move through your digestive system. A simple walk after your meal can help to improve digestion, reducing bloating and constipation.
6. Take a probiotic
During pregnancy, the hormones estrogen and progesterone increase, which can change the composition of gut microbiome and affect the digestive system. A recent study found that probiotics significantly improve the symptoms of pregnancy-related digestive concerns like nausea, vomiting and constipation.
Needed’s Prenatal Pre/Probiotic supports a strong and healthy microbiome, including not only your digestive tract, but also your skin, and vagina, and the gut of your baby to be.
7. Incorporate fiber
Fiber has a number of benefits during pregnancy. Fiber can help to reduce the risk of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance which can contribute to diabetes. It can also help to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and can also help support digestion and ease constipation.
There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Most plants contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, but in different amounts. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and absorbs water in your intestine. Soluble fiber is found in oats, barley, seeds, beans, lentils, apples, and citrus. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, so it adds bulk to the stool making it softer and easier to pass through the stomach and intestines. As it can help food pass more quickly, insoluble fiber can support constipation. Insoluble fiber is found in cruciferous vegetables, nuts, green beans, potatoes, and whole grains.
The bottom line Pregnancy involves so many changes in the body, including digestive changes. But the good news is that many of the digestive challenges that pregnancy presents can be managed with simple tweaks and additions to your nutrition and lifestyle.
Needed is a nutrition company delivering optimal nourishment for women and their partners before, during, and after pregnancy. Needed is the #1 women’s health brand among nutritionally trained practitioners, and is backed by the recommendation of thousands of perinatal health experts. Their products and educational content are grounded in the latest clinical research and the in-practice experience of its practitioner collective. Needed delivers what you need to thrive, not just survive, along the perinatal journey and the parenting years beyond.