How Can We Protect Stomach and Intestine Health During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a very special and beautiful time for mothers. This special period causes many changes in the mother. Most of these changes occur in the digestive system. If lifestyle changes are not made against the changes in the digestive system, expectant mothers may encounter many problems. The problems encountered can make this pregnancy process, which is good for expectant mothers, unbearable.

It is very important for the health of the mother and baby to spend the pregnancy process in a healthy way. In order to pass this process in a healthy way, it is necessary to have a healthy digestive system. A healthy digestive system also means a strong immune system.

Many hormonal changes occur during pregnancy. The uterus is also enlarging so that the baby can grow in it. These hormonal changes, the pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach and intestines, and the lack of movement caused by weight gain cause various stomach and intestinal problems.

The main of these problems are; nausea, vomiting, heartburn and heartburn, constipation, indigestion, bloating, reflux, gas problems, gall bladder problems. All these gastrointestinal problems I wrote about are in the mother; Inadequate nutrition can cause many conditions that reduce the quality of life, such as not benefiting from nutrients sufficiently, physical pain and suffering experienced. This means that mothers should pay extra attention to their nutrition during pregnancy. Because the key to gastrointestinal health is a healthy diet.

One of the most important organs of the digestive system is undoubtedly the intestines, which we also know as the second brain. Intestinal health is very important for physical and mental health. In short, we can say that the healthier our intestines are, the better we feel. Headaches, emotional swings, poor memory, etc. An unhealthy gut may underlie many symptoms. The most basic rule in intestinal health is to keep the intestinal flora healthy. It is known that unhealthy intestinal flora is associated with many ailments, from diabetes to obesity, from chronic fatigue to depression. To keep the intestinal flora healthy, it is necessary to increase the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. It is possible to increase these beneficial bacteria with nutrition.

General recommendations for a healthy digestive system during pregnancy:

  • Meals should be eaten sparingly and often.

  • Meals should be eaten slowly and thoroughly chewed.

  • When it comes to gut health, I think the first thing that comes to mind is probiotics. Probiotic foods; It increases the beneficial microorganisms in the intestine. Probiotic foods; homemade yoghurt, kefir, pickles,…

  • Daily water consumption should not be neglected.

  • Avoid excessively spicy, fatty, spicy, sugary and acidic foods and drinks.

  • It should be fed with foods rich in fiber (whole grain products, legumes, vegetables and fruits, …). It will be especially useful in solving problems such as constipation and indigestion.

  • Snacking should not be done. Meals should be consumed sitting down.

  • Eating at night should be avoided.

  • The digestive system is one of the systems most affected by stress. Staying away from stress is very important for a healthy digestion.

  • Light walks during pregnancy will help with bowel dysfunction/slowing and indigestion complaints.

  • Caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee should be limited.

  • Sensitized foods or allergen foods can also cause digestive complaints.

  • Alcohol and smoking should be avoided.

Foods to be consumed for a healthy digestive system during pregnancy:

  • Kefir: I think most of us have learned that kefir is a good source of probiotics. Thanks to this probiotic content, it helps the intestine to work well by increasing the friendly bacteria in the intestine. 1 glass of kefir can be consumed per day.

  • Pickle: With its probiotic and high fiber content, pickles are also beneficial for intestinal health. However, pickles also contain high levels of salt. It is necessary to pay attention to its consumption in order not to cause edema, which is a common problem during pregnancy. It will be enough to consume twice a week.

  • Yogurt: Another source of probiotics is yogurt. With its probiotic content, it benefits the health of the digestive system. 2 bowls of yogurt can be consumed per day.

  • Whole grains:Thanks to the abundant fiber they contain, it helps the digestive system.

  • Dry beans: Legumes, which contain high fiber, also help the intestines to work. However, the gas-forming feature of legumes can be challenging during pregnancy. In this case, it may be necessary to limit it.

  • Broccoli-Cauliflower-Cabbage:These vegetables also have a high fiber content and may need to be limited during pregnancy, again due to their gas-forming properties.

  • Banana: It is one of the foods that helps the digestive system with its fiber content. 1 banana can be consumed per day.

  • Apple: In addition to the vitamins and minerals it contains, the apple is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. With these properties, it helps to protect stomach and intestinal health.

  • Cinnamon: Known for balancing blood sugar, cinnamon also helps with constipation and bloating problems. It also improves digestion by keeping food in the stomach longer. This increases the feeling of satiety. (Excessive use during pregnancy may cause miscarriage. Daily consumption of 2-4 grams (less than half a teaspoon) is safe. It is useful to get approval from the doctor before adding cinnamon to the diet during pregnancy.)

  • Mint: Calms the stomach and relaxes the digestive system. It can help with problems such as nausea, pain, indigestion, gas. (Excessive use during pregnancy may cause miscarriage. Those with low risk should not consume it without consulting their doctor.)

  • Olive oil:Olive oil, which helps the digestive system, can be preferred in vegetable dishes and salads, and bowel movements can be improved.

  • Coconut oil: It contains high amount of MCT (medium chain fatty acid). MCT, on the other hand, tires the body less than long-chain fatty acids. This effect facilitates digestion.

  • Bone broth: It helps to repair and strengthen the intestines. It helps digestion by contributing to the mucous membrane of the digestive system.

  • The fish: Oily fish (like salmon) rich in omega 3 helps increase good bacteria in the gut. It also helps the digestive system by preventing stomach inflammation.

  • Pistachios: Thanks to its high fiber content, it increases the movement of the intestines and increases the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Pregnant women can consume about 10-15 pistachios daily in their snacks.

  • Raw almonds: It is an important prebiotic food. Prebiotics are non-digestible food compounds that feed beneficial bacteria and enable them to multiply. In other words, prebiotics are used by beneficial bacteria as a source of energy and thus more beneficial bacteria are created. Being a prebiotic food, raw almonds increase the good bacteria in the intestine and benefit the health of the digestive system. Pregnant women can consume about 10-15 raw almonds daily in their snacks.

  • Leek: Leek is another prebiotic food. The inulin contained in it is used as an energy source by beneficial bacteria, thus increasing the number of beneficial bacteria. This means healthy guts. If it causes heartburn, it may be necessary to restrict it during pregnancy.

  • Garlic: It is a natural antibiotic and antioxidant thanks to the compound called allicin in it. In addition, garlic, which is a prebiotic food, strengthens intestinal health.

  • Spinach: The sugar in spinach is used as an energy source by the good bacteria in the gut. In this way, beneficial bacteria, which is very important for intestinal health, increases.

  • Avocado: Thanks to the soluble and insoluble fibers in it, it improves the health of the digestive system. It can help with problems such as nausea, constipation and heartburn during pregnancy.

Foods that should not be consumed or restricted for a healthy digestive system during pregnancy:

  • Hot pepper: May cause heartburn.

  • Chocolate:It can increase reflux complaints.

  • Milk: It can cause complaints such as bloating, gas and cramps in people with lactose intolerance. Yogurt or kefir can be used instead of milk.

  • Gas-producing foods: Examples of these foods are legumes, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. example can be given. However, although these foods are gas-forming, they are very useful foods that have an important place in a healthy diet. For this reason, it would be better to limit it instead of not consuming it at all. It should not be consumed if it causes serious problems.

  • Onions, garlic, leeks: Although these foods contain many beneficial nutrients for the body, they can cause heartburn. In this case, it may be necessary to limit its consumption.

  • Extremely fatty and spicy foods:It can increase complaints such as heartburn and nausea.

  • Unripe banana:Since it is more difficult to digest, it can cause complaints such as indigestion and gas.

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