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Diet tips to overcome hea​rtburn during pregnancy

"Heartburn is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms during pregnancy, with a reported incidence of 17-45 per cent," says Ms Kellie Kong, Dietitian from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics​ at KK Women's and Children's Hospital​ (KKH)​, a member of the SingHealth​ group. Here’s how you can relieve the symptoms of heartburn.​

Avoid triggers: Reduce intake of reflux-inducing foods (e.g. oily and spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, carbonated drinks) and caffeinated drinks.

Drink milk: A glass of milk may help ease the ‘acidic’ sensation felt during heartburn.

Post-meal tip: Avoid lying flat on your back after eating. If you are feeling tired, do lie down, but prop yourself up with 1-2 pillows so that you are not lying completely flat.

However, if your heartburn remains severe after trying out these tips, please consult your doctor for medication.

Diet tips to overcome constipation during pregnancy

Constipation is common during pregnancy due to the effects of the hormone progesterone.

Before seeking medication or taking fibre supplements, try the following tips to relieve constipation during pregnancy:

  • Get dietary fibre: Increase your fibre intake from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fibre adds bulk to your stool, enabling it to pass more quickly through your intestines. Make sure you drink enough fluids though as eating more fibre without adequate fluids may worsen constipation. Aim for 3 servings each of whole grains and vegetables, and 2 servings of fruit a day during pregnancy.
  • Drink more: Fluids help move your stool and keeps your intestines smooth and flexible too, so increase your fluid intake. This means that you should aim for 8-10 glasses of fluids a day. In addition, having a hot drink first thing in the morning upon waking up helps stimulate bowel movements.
  • Sorbitol: Sorbitol is naturally found in fruits, and can help soften stools and relieve constipation. Dried and fresh fruit like plums, apricot, peach, apple and grapes are high in sorbitol.
  • Exercise: Regular mild physical activities such as walking or swimming may help with your bowel movements and relieve constipation.

Do consult your doctor for medication if you are still experiencing constipation after trying out these tips.

Tips to overcome leg swelling during pregnancy

Swollen legs, ankles and feet are common, especially during the third trimester, due to water retention in those areas.

To reduce swelling in these areas, lie down or use a foot rest to elevate your feet and legs.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that high sodium intake increases fluid retention. However, it is wise to consume sodium in moderation during pregnancy.

See previous page for diet tips to overcome morning sickness​ and leg cramps during pregnancy.

Ref: O17​