Heartburn and Constipation

Heartburn and Constipation

Pregnant Woman - Card 4

MN WIC Program

  1. Benefits of Breastfeeding
  2. Eating Right! Feeling Good!
  3. Gaining the Right Amount of Weight
  4. Heartburn and Constipation
  5. Nausea and Vomiting


Sometimes stomach acids come up into the throat and create a burning feeling or "heartburn." Body changes early in pregnancy can cause heartburn. Your baby pushing up on your stomach later in pregnancy can cause heartburn, too. Here are some tips to prevent heartburn:

  • Eat small meals and eat them more often. This puts just a little food in the stomach each time you eat. Try 5 or 6 small meals each day.
  • Eat and drink slowly.
  • Try drinking only small amounts of liquids with meals. Drink more of your juice, milk or water about 1 hour after eating.
  • Eat less fatty or fried food. Ice cream, pizza, chips, sausage, pastries, salad dressings, butter and margarine can cause heartburn.
  • Drink less coffee and pop. Caffeine causes heartburn
  • Be aware of the foods that cause your heartburn. Spicy foods, chocolate, spearmint and peppermint bother some people.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Don’t lie down immediately after eating.
  • Limit stress and situations that may increase stress.
  • Stop smoking or cut way back on cigarettes.
Do not take any medications, antacids or home remedies until you check with your health care provider first.


Constipation, or hard, dry stools, is often caused by normal body changes that happen during pregnancy. Here are some things you can do for relief:

1. Eat more high fiber foods every day.

  • Eat at least 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Munch on raw carrots, broccoli, apples or pears for snacks.
  • Select whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Try a higher fiber cereal such as bran flakes.
  • Eat foods made with dry and canned beans and peas.

2. Drink at least 8 glasses of fluids each day.

  • Have 3 glasses of milk and 1 or 2 glasses of 100% fruit or vegetable juice every day. Apple or prune juice may be helpful.
  • Have at least 4 glasses of water every day.
  • Limit coffee, tea and pop with caffeine.

3. Be active every day. Walking, swimming and riding a stationary bicycle are all good activities. Check with your health care provider first.

4. Go to the bathroom right away when you feel the need to. Breakfast and a warm beverage will often help move your bowels.

Do not take medicines, laxatives or home remedies or quit taking your prescribed prenatal vitamins or iron pills until you check with your health care provider.