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Dr. Priya Patel, a board certified OB-GYN, spoke with Healthline about the GI symptoms you might experience during pregnancy and how to find relief.

Common GI symptoms people complain about during pregnancy are nausea and vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), constipation, and hemorrhoids.

Nausea and vomiting usually occur due to hormonal changes at the beginning of the pregnancy.

GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes. The hormone progesterone, which increases during pregnancy, can cause the sphincter to relax.

Iron supplements can also cause reflux and constipation, which may be part of your supplementation routine if you have anemia.

Hemorrhoids usually develop due to increased blood flow to the pelvic area and the pressure caused by the expanding uterus on the veins in the lower body.

Nausea and vomiting usually occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. In most people, they resolve by the end of the first trimester, but some experience nausea throughout their entire pregnancy.

Constipation, hemorrhoids, and GERD can occur at any time but usually crop up later during pregnancy due to a combination of a growing uterus, poor hydration, and increased blood flow to the pelvic area.

Eating small, frequent meals instead of three large meals per day can help prevent GI symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and reflux.

Starting your day off with dry crackers and GI-gentle foods like soup, broth, and dry toast may also help limit symptoms. Other options for symptom relief during the day include:

  • drinking ginger ale or tea
  • taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications
  • staying upright for an hour after eating to prevent reflux
  • avoiding spicy, oily, and greasy foods

Listen to your body. If you look at something or smell something that doesn’t agree with you, avoid it.

If none of the above brings relief, talk with an OB-GYN about your prescription medication options, such as Zofran or Reglan.

If you’re experiencing constipation, you can try the following:

  • Increase the amount of fiber in your diet.
  • Drink prune juice.
  • Use OTC medications like Colace, Metamucil, or milk of magnesium.

You can alleviate hemorrhoids by avoiding straining and constipation. OTC medications like Anusol, Preparation H, Tucks pads, and, believe it or not, Vicks may also help relieve hemorrhoid symptoms.

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It’s typical to experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of your pregnancy.

However, if you’re unable to keep any food or liquid down, you may have a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which may require hospitalization to prevent severe dehydration and excessive weight loss.

If your nausea and vomiting are severe, it’s a good idea to speak to an OB-GYN.

In general, if your symptoms are well-controlled with any of the suggestions above, they’re likely typical pregnancy symptoms. If symptoms don’t improve or worsen, it’s time to talk with a healthcare professional.

Most of these conditions tend to improve before or after delivery.

For most people, nausea and vomiting resolve at the end of the first trimester. Reflux and constipation typically improve after delivery. Hemorrhoids also improve after delivery but can take longer than other symptoms to resolve.


Dr. Priya Patel is an ABOG board certified obstetric and gynecology physician. She is a practicing physician in Orlando, Florida.