Pregnancy indigestion at night

Indigestion, also referred to as dyspepsia, is a common issue during pregnancy. The growing fetus can exert pressure on the stomach, leading to indigestion, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. This discomfort can be especially bothersome at night when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. Understanding the reasons and strategies to cope can be helpful:

Causes of Indigestion during Pregnancy:

  1. Hormonal Changes: The hormone progesterone, which increases during pregnancy, can cause the valve (lower esophageal sphincter) that separates the stomach from the esophagus to relax. This allows stomach acid to leak into the esophagus, leading to indigestion and heartburn.
  2. Growing Baby: As the baby grows, especially during the third trimester, it pushes against the stomach and other digestive organs, potentially leading to indigestion.
  3. Delayed Gastric Emptying: Progesterone can also slow down the movement of food through the digestive tract, causing indigestion.

Tips to Alleviate Night-time Indigestion:

  1. Elevate Your Head: When lying down, try to keep your upper body elevated by about 6-8 inches. This position uses gravity to help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. You can use several pillows or a wedge-shaped cushion.
  2. Eat Early: Try to have your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. This gives your body enough time to digest food before you lie down.
  3. Small, Frequent Meals: Instead of having large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent ones. This prevents the stomach from being overly full and reduces the risk of acid reflux.
  4. Avoid Trigger Foods: Foods and drinks such as caffeine, chocolate, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated beverages can exacerbate indigestion. Identify and avoid foods that trigger your symptoms.
  5. Stay Upright After Eating: After your evening meal, try to remain upright for a while. Activities like taking a gentle walk can promote digestion.
  6. Avoid Liquids Before Bed: Drinking large amounts of liquids shortly before bedtime can increase the risk of reflux. Try to limit your fluid intake for an hour or two before going to sleep.
  7. Wear Loose Clothing: Tight clothing, especially around the abdomen, can put pressure on the stomach, potentially leading to acid reflux and indigestion.
  8. Relaxation Techniques: Stress and anxiety can worsen indigestion. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or gentle prenatal yoga can help manage stress and improve digestion.
  9. Antacids: Over-the-counter antacids can be effective in neutralizing stomach acid. However, it’s essential to choose one that’s safe during pregnancy and consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication.
  10. Herbal Teas: Some herbal teas like chamomile may help soothe the digestive tract. However, it’s crucial to ensure that any herbal tea or remedy you consider is safe during pregnancy.

If indigestion becomes too uncomfortable or persistent, it’s essential to discuss it with your healthcare provider. They can offer guidance on safe and effective treatments tailored to your specific needs, ensuring both your comfort and the health of your baby during pregnancy.