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How to Use Yoga to Aid Digestion During Pregnancy

Digestive discomfort is a common, and very unwanted side effect of pregnancy. If you’re lucky you’ll mostly avoid it, but for many of us, it’s something that we’ll have to deal with through the whole 9 months.

Yoga is a powerful tool in relieving many of the more uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy - indigestion, back pain, and fatigue are just three examples. By practicing certain yoga poses and spending time on breathing practices throughout your day, you can quickly relieve some of the pain that comes with growing a baby.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to spend time breathing deeply, lengthening the spine, and moving the hips. But there are some yoga poses that work much more effectively than others, and it remains crucial to ensure that you are practicing them safely for your pregnant body.

In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about digestive discomfort during pregnancy, including what causes it and the natural steps that you can take to relieve some of the pain.

Symptoms of digestive problems during pregnancy

Though heartburn is one of the more common symptoms of digestive problems during pregnancy, you can expect lots of other problems too. The most likely symptoms of digestive problems include:

  • Discomfort after eating

  • Heartburn

  • Indigestion

  • Nausea

  • Sickness

  • Reflux

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

If you are pregnant and experiencing any of these issues, read on! We might just have the perfect advice for you...

Causes of digestive problems during pregnancy

During pregnancy, our hormone levels change and fluctuate, which can cause a variety of issues. Digestive issues can be put down to our increasing levels of progesterone - progesterone relaxes your muscles and, as a result, slows digestion.

This is what can make you feel particularly uncomfortable after meals, leaving you feeling sluggish and unable to digest any of the delicious foods that you’re treating yourself to during pregnancy.

Tips for alleviating digestion issues when pregnant

Luckily, there are lots of things that you can do to help relieve digestive discomfort and all of the symptoms that come with it. Here are just a few changes that you can start implementing right now:

Eat smaller meals

Eating smaller meals, more frequently, can make it easier for your body to digest food. When reducing your meal size, it’s important to increase the frequency at which you eat to make sure that you’re still meeting your daily nutritional and calorie needs.

Eat in a seated position

Since we were children, we’ve been told ‘not to eat lying down!’. And it’s true, it’s not good for our digestive system and can be even worse during pregnancy. Just think about gravity for a second...for the food to travel down quickly, we need to be seated upright!

Drink lots of fluid

Drinking lots of fluids throughout the day is an easy way to wake up your digestive system and keep it moving. Drink 1 glass of water when you wake up, 1 glass 30 minutes before you eat, and 1 glass before you shower. Drink a smaller glass of water before bed to reduce the number of times that you need to use the toilet during the night!

To get enough fluid, you can also eat fruits, clear soups, and watered-down juice. Be aware that although tea and coffee might be mostly water, they can actually dehydrate you.

Eat a healthy diet

Fruits, vegetables, and light foods are much easier for your body to digest, so try to focus your meals around these kinds of foods instead of heavier options like meat and carbohydrates. When eating meals, eat the light foods first, working your way up to the heavier foods. This way, you’ll quickly digest the light foods and have less piled up in your stomach.

Keep moving

Movement is crucial for health during pregnancy. Adding healthy movement to each day can make labor and delivery easier, as well as relieve aches, pains, and digestive problems. Practicing a little yoga, going for a walk, or spending some time swimming at the local pool are all great ways to keep moving during pregnancy.

Yoga poses for digestive problems during pregnancy

There are lots of different poses that you can do during pregnancy to relieve digestive discomfort - here are a variety of poses that you can test out to get your system working more efficiently!

Mountain pose

Stand tall with your feet as wide as you need to accommodate your growing belly. Place your hands on a hula hoop or on your hips, bend your knees a little, and start to stretch side to side. As if you were hula hooping, draw small circles with your hips and increase the size of the circles as it feels good. Repeat in the other direction.

Bonus: This can also be a great way to relieve lower back and hip pain.

Mountain Pose using a hula hoop during pregnancy
Mountain pose using a hula hoop

Belly breathing

Pranayama (belly breathing)

This form of pranayama is one of the only safe breathing techniques to practice during pregnancy. As well as improving your digestion by creating space in the abdomen, it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety. Sit on your heels or bottom, place your hands on your belly, and breathe in and out the nose. Focus on bringing your breath all the way down to your baby.

If it’s uncomfortable to sit on your heels, you can sit on a block between your feet, or roll a blanket up and place it under your ankles.

Seated twist

Seated twist

Start in a cross-legged position and inhale to bring your arms overhead. As you exhale, turn to the right, placing your right hand behind your lower back, and your left hand on your right knee. Make sure that the twist is coming from the upper back, not the lower back, and that your spine is nice and straight.

Jennica Joyce Yoga is organizing Mommy & Me Yoga retreats and Prenatal Yoga Teacher Trainings (RPYT) in Southern California. Come Share Your Heart, Nurture Mom & Baby and Live Your Dharma with us!


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