Tip #4: Experiment with eating frequency.
To clarify, this doesn’t mean eating less—it means sizing down large meals and spacing them out into five or six smaller meals throughout the day. Big portions can be taxing on the body, so experimenting with this approach may help ease occasional discomfort (and may even help with reducing occasional gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort, too). In fact, a survey of clinicians who care for pregnant people found that eating small frequent meals was one of the most common recommendations to help with occasional nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. (6)
That said, what works for one person doesn’t always work for others. Some people do well with more frequent meals, while others may feel better eating three square meals a day. We recommend listening to your body and working with a trusted OB-GYN or health care provider to determine the best meal plan for you.
Tip #5: Wait to lie down after eating.
Let’s be real: No one likes heartburn—and having it during pregnancy can feel that much more frustrating. Beyond staying away from excessively fatty, spicy, or greasy foods, one simple way you can help mitigate the effect is to stay upright for at least an hour after eating (yes, even if that post food-coma nap is calling!). Similar to the previous tip, this small action can go a long way toward helping food move through the digestive tract.
Tip #6: Keep moving.
Your body, that is! The science is clear: Movement is an important factor in maintaining (and improving!) physical and emotional health (and that’s true regardless of pregnancy status). Plus, getting regular exercise can help stimulate the bowels, not to mention help with stress—always a good thing for digestion. Not sure where to begin? Check out our guide to starting a workout routine. (1, 7)
Tip #7: When nature calls—respond.
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Regularly holding back can have not-so-ideal side effects (and can exacerbate constipation), so listen to your body. It knows best.
The essential takeaway?
Pregnancy is a time filled with changes, and digestion is no exception. In the end, we suggest keeping things simple: Embrace healthy eating habits (including lots of high-fiber foods), make movement a priority, and stay hydrated. If you have any questions about treating constipation in pregnancy (or about women’s health or pregnancy symptoms in general), we recommend reaching out to a trusted OB-GYN or health care provider.†
- Trottier, M., Erebara, A., & Bozzo, P. (2012). ... during pregnancy. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 58(8), 836–838.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2020, October). How much water should I drink during pregnancy? ACOG.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020.
- USDA, Agricultural Research Service, 2021. Usual Nutrient Intake from Food and Beverages, by Pregnancy/Lactation Status, What We Eat in America, NHANES 2015-2018. 2021.
- Jung S, Oh M, Park S, Chae S. (2020). Effects of rice-based and wheat-based diets on bowel movements in young Korean women .... European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 74, 1565-1575.
- DiIorio, C.; Van Lier, D.; Manteuffel, B. (1994). Recommendations by Clinicians for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. Clinical Nursing Research. 3(3), 209–227.
- Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 16(1), 3–12.
†This content was created for informational use only, to share stories and provide education around this life stage. This information should not be read to recommend, endorse, or associate any specific products. Dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.