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Indigestion in pregnancy


The term indigestion is defined as "lack of digestion" and can manifest as a burning sensation or acidity after meals, or as the perception of fullness and heaviness of the stomach that appears shortly after starting food intake or after it has finished.

These symptoms are very frequent in pregnant women, although they do not appear in all of them at the same time of pregnancy, it is estimated that, throughout the pregnancy, between 70-80% of women will have been affected in greater or greater degree. less measured by this type of gastric affections.

- Hormonal factors, such as the decrease in motilin secretion and the increase in progesterone, which from the first months of pregnancy slow down gastric emptying and promote constipation.

- Anatomical factorsBecause with the increase in size of the uterus, the stomach is compressed and displaced from its usual position.

1. Hygienic-dietary measures: Sometimes, simply by changing certain habits, we can significantly improve the annoying symptoms of indigestion, and even get to eliminate them. The most widely accepted basic recommendations are:

- Make small meals and distribute them in five servings throughout the day.

- Avoid fat, spicy food, soft drinks, alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine or chocolate.

- Interrupt food intake before completely satiating the appetite, especially when foods have a high carbohydrate content.

- Maintain an upright posture, avoiding lying down or reclining, just after meals.

- Promote frequent intake of water or other liquids in small amounts throughout the day.

- Eat slowly, ensuring proper chewing and swallowing of food.

- Flee both excessively sedentary life and stress.

- Eliminate the consumption of tobacco, because, among other harmful effects both for the embryo and / or the fetus and for the pregnant woman, it has also been shown to worsen this type of gastrointestinal discomfort.

2. Pharmacological treatment: Although doctors are quite reluctant to prescribe medication to pregnant women, there are some pharmacological compounds whose safety is endorsed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, for its acronym in English, the US agency responsible for evaluating safety for human use and / or veterinarian of various products of a pharmacological, food, cosmetic nature ...)

Some antacids such as ranitidine, or combinations of antihistamines and antiemetics such as doxylamine-pyridoxine, are relatively frequently used in pregnant women.

Despite the extensive experience of use that may exist, it should be remembered that self-medication is a totally inadvisable practice, even more so in this delicate stage of life, in which the correct embryonic and fetal development could be compromised by a error in dosage or choice of drug. Given the importance of individual characteristics and peculiarities, it is always advisable to consult a professional.

3. Alternative therapies: Since time immemorial, in some countries other techniques such as acupuncture have been used to try to alleviate this type of discomfort. However, to date, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these ancient practices.

Undoubtedly the symptoms of indigestion in pregnancy are unpleasant disorders, but we must not forget that in most cases these are manifested mildly and, fortunately, transitory.

Ana Rodriguez

Pediatrician

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