Pregnancy is a part of your life where there will be another human being growing inside you. As this person gets larger, the placenta that contains them will grow and contract some of the other organs in your body. For this reason, just the physicality of it all can result in some symptoms that you would associate with other conditions. Many of these are digestive problems because of the contraction due to placental enlargement that occurs to organs along the digestive tract.

One exception to this is constipation. Constipation is a condition that occurs for reasons unrelated to pregnancy all the time, but it can also come about as a side effect of the pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, the progesterone levels in their body increase. Progesterone is a hormone that does a number of things in a woman, including decreasing the movement of stool through the bowels. For this reason, pregnancies that increase the progesterone levels by enough can also result in the woman experiencing constipation. At the same time, larger amounts of fluid are absorbed by other parts of the body during pregnancy, which can multiply the effect of the constipation by removing water that would otherwise make it into the stool.

Another digestive problem that can occur during pregnancy is the increase of things like heartburn and acid reflux. These two problems are directly related to the contraction of the digestive organs that was mentioned in the opening paragraph. As the placenta takes up more space in the woman’s body, the other organs are pushed into a smaller volume. This can result not only in the feeling of satiety, but also in the exacerbation of problems that would otherwise be quite mild. A smaller stomach volume can negatively affect both acid reflux and heartburn, with stomach aches also becoming worse due to contraction. This is not to say that those things will absolutely happen, just that the risk is greater during pregnancy.

Although typical laxatives (OTC) are definitely not recommended for any extended period of time many of these problems can be treated through the conventional methods used during non-pregnancy. Make sure to see your doctor if experiencing discomfort due to a digestive side effect of pregnancy.