Gastritis is the medical term used when there is inflammation in the lining of the stomach wall and this can lead to many digestive problems. Gastritis in pregnancy is quite common, often a pregnant woman experiences symptoms of gastritis as a result of several causes. One of them is the stress that the pregnant woman may suffer during the pregnancy period.
Causes of Gastritis in Pregnancy
Some of the causes of the development of gastritis in pregnancy are:
- Low intake of food with weak nutritional values, unbalanced diet;
- Spice consumption;
- Excessive drinks contribute to gastritis in pregnancy;
- The high consumption of dishes with preservatives can also damage the lining of the stomach leading to gastritis in pregnancy;
- Contamination of the stomach with the helicobacter pylori bacteria has also been reported as one of the causes;
- Certain medications, especially anti-inflammatory drugs, are also risk factors for gastritis in pregnancy.
In gastritis, the mucous lining of the stomach is worn away by excess acid production, when the condition is not treated it can lead to stomach ulcer.
Symptoms of Gastritis in Pregnancy
Gastritis in pregnancy is not a permanent problem , unless it is a pre-existing condition in women before becoming pregnant. But, it can be reversed with the right treatment.
Here are some notable symptoms of gastritis that a woman experiences during pregnancy:
- Swelling and belching (belching)
- Burning sensation below the external bone
- Loss of appetite
Other symptoms that can happen are excessive salivation, bitter taste in the mouth, bad breath, generalized weakness and lethargy. Most people go through situations where they eliminate gases 10 to 20 times a day on average. However, during pregnancy, that number seems to increase a lot.
That is, due to the high level of progesterone produced in pregnancy. The progesterone relaxes the muscles of the body , including the digestive tract, which causes digestion to slow down leading to gas accumulation and consequently to burping, bloating and flatulence.
The growing uterus puts more pressure on the organs of the abdominal cavity and pushes the stomach, leading to further slowing down of digestion.
How to Relieve Gases During Pregnancy
- Constipation is the most common cause of gas and bloating. Eating a diet of sufficient fiber for regular bowel movements is the ideal recommendation. However, keep a limit on the fiber, as more fibers can also increase gas production.
- Do not overload the digestive system with large meals. During pregnancy, the stomach muscles are relaxed and digestion is slow. Therefore, eating smaller meals more often is recommended.
- Eat slowly. Do not rush with the food, when you eat too fast swallow more air with the food. This will cause more gas to go into the stomach.
- Avoid or eat less gas-producing foods, such as cabbage, fried foods, fizzy drinks, beans, etc.
How is Gastritis Diagnosed in Pregnancy?
In the worsening of gastritis, the diagnosis is made based on exams. For the visualization of the mucosa, specifying the type of acidity and the detection of H. pylori, endoscopy with pH scope and smear impressions is performed.
It is not dangerous, but it does require the permission of the obstetrician. An ultrasound scan may also be ordered to check the structure of the stomach . It is usually best to diagnose and treat gastritis before pregnancy, but if the disease appears during pregnancy, it needs to be kept under control.
How to Treat Gastritis in Pregnancy
Treatment for non-pregnant patients consists of eliminating (eradicating) the H. pylori bacteria and reducing acidity with anti-secretory drugs. However, during pregnancy, both groups are contraindicated, and therefore remain only:
Tools that operate only in the stomach, without systemic absorption. Antacids bind and neutralize hydrochloric acid in the stomach. There is a suspension based on magnesium and aluminum that cannot be used for more than 3 days as the intake of aluminum can cause constipation.
There are other safer and non-absorbable drugs based on aluminum and magnesium in larger molecules or based on calcium and magnesium.
The salt of alginic acid also reduces acidity, does not absorb and protects the gastric mucosa, which is especially important during pregnancy. The same effect has milk and dairy products, and they, together with honey, can treat gastritis and are completely safe.
Papaverine tablets are safe and relieve spasms of gastritis in pregnancy and other problems as well.
They are recommended for a short period of time in the 1st trimester and in the 3rd when vomiting is uncontrollable according to the doctor.
There are a number of plants, seeds and grains that have a higher pH and that help to improve gastritis in pregnancy. They are: St. John’s wort, mint, chamomile, oat and flax seeds, calamus and valerian roots, corn and so on.
Make tea with 2-3 tablespoons of a certain herb in half a liter of boiling water (30 minutes of rest), strain and drink half a glass after meals relieve pain, calm and protect the stomach.
Other plants such as banana leaves, spices (thyme, mint, cumin, oregano, fennel), parsley, which have reduced acidity, stimulate secretion and digestion.
Other measures that can relieve the discomfort of gastritis in pregnancy:
- Chew cloves after lunch and dinner. It is an excellent remedy for gastritis caused in pregnancy
- An herbal tea made from ginger and licorice is useful in treating gastritis problems in pregnancy.
- Carrot juice mixed with spinach juice is effective in treating gastric irritation. The carrot is also beneficial for pregnant women due to its high content of vitamins A, C, B2 and B3, in addition to phosphorus, potassium, calcium and sodium, which are the mineral salts present in the carrot.
- Chewing fennel seeds after each meal is beneficial for relieving gastritis in pregnancy.
- Eat more vegetables, grains and fruits.
- Prepare a mixture of crushed anise and boiling water. Let the liquid cool, strain and drink 2 tbsp. This helps to alleviate the symptoms of gastritis in pregnancy.
It is very important that, during pregnancy the woman has a balanced diet . Eating in small quantities and more frequently is essential. The motto is: “You cannot go hungry or overeat.”
Avoid fizzy drinks, caffeine, spices, fatty and fried foods, as they can further damage the stomach lining. Low-fat dairy products, soups, broths and porridge, steamed white meats, fish, cereals, whole grain bread and fruits, are part of an ideal diet for women suffering from gastritis during pregnancy.
It is also good to know that mineral water is excellent for gastritis. The high acidity of the stomach is neutralized with mineral water. Having a glass an hour or two after any meal gives you a feeling of freshness and relieves pain.
It is important to remember that the proper treatment of gastritis in pregnancy should be conducted by a gastroenterologist in conjunction with the obstetrician, so that it does not harm either the mother or the baby.
See Also: Medications in Pregnancy – Use Safely!
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.