Digestion troubles during pregnancy: Everything an expectant mother should know

The journey of pregnancy is a unique one and it can lead to different challenges and health problems for expectant mothers. In Chrissy Teigen’s case, it has been leading to severe digestive issues. A few days ago, Teigen — who is pregnant with her third child — shared a health update with her followers, taking to Instagram stories to reveal that she had finally found some relief for her digestion woes.

In the story, the cookbook author and model had posed nude in the bathroom, covering her breasts with her hands and clicking a mirror selfie to show her bulging tummy, which rested on the counter. The text accompanying the photo read, “Thank you @doctorberlin for my acid reflux tape (it really works!!???) and for being my main man for many years!”

In the photo, her bump was partially covered with a black-coloured tape, which was placed near her ribs and close to the diaphragm.

Prior to this, the 36-year-old had written in a post that she has “lived the life of a spoiled rotten stomach”, and that she could “do anything to it”: “…street meat, landlocked sushi, stuff that smelled off, 5-second rule floor food, ghost pepper contests, countless shots”.

“And she was strong, my stomach. Now, half of a single cherry tomato can take me down for 12 hours. But, I am still so happy to be your rental home, little baby!” the mother-of-two’s caption read.

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While some form of digestive issue is common during pregnancy since the body is accommodating another individual, severe digestive problems are not unheard of either. Speaking about them, Dr Bir Singh Sehrawat, director – gastroenterology at Marengo QRG Hospital, Faridabad said acid reflux — known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — is a chronic digestive disease in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining.

“Normally, at the gateway of our stomach, there is a ring of muscle known as lower esophageal sphincter or LES. It closes immediately after the food passes through it. When there is any kind of abnormality in the way LES opens or closes, it may lead to the development of certain symptoms such as a burning of chest, discomfort in the stomach, or even in the throat. If these symptoms are seen too often, the condition might be detected as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),” he told indianexpress.com.

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The doctor added that it can be managed with consistent medications, proper diet, and lifestyle modifications. “Although, when it is not being addressed, in rare cases, patients may require surgical intervention.”

Dr Bir further explained that one surgical procedure is called ‘fundoplication’, which can help treat acid reflux. “This is aimed at strengthening the LES. Surgeons wrap the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This procedure can be performed either through an open incision in the abdomen or chest or with a lighted tube inserted through a tiny incision in the abdomen. This wrap is called acid reflux tape.”


Acid reflux during pregnancy

“Having acid reflux is pretty common for pregnant women as they go through hormonal changes and because of the growing baby pressing against their stomach,” said Dr Thejaswini J, consultant – obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bangalore.

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The doctor further listed the symptoms of acid reflux disease:

* Having heartburn is one of the major symptoms. A burning pain or discomfort that may move from your stomach to your abdomen or chest, or even up into your throat can be felt.

* Acid reflux leads to regurgitation, which is a condition in which a sour or bitter-tasting acid backs up into your throat or mouth.

* Bloating

* Bloody or black stools, bloody vomiting or burping

* Acid reflux can lead to dysphagia which is a sensation of food being stuck in your throat.

* Hiccups

* Nausea

* Unusual weight loss

* Wheezing, dry cough, hoarseness, or chronic sore throat


“Though it’s common for mothers to go through this discomfort, you can surely ease your pain by being conscious of your diet and with medications prescribed by your doctor,” Dr Thejaswini said.