What is it? What are the symptoms? What are the treatments?

What is indigestion?

Indigestion (or, dyspepsia) is discomfort, or pain in the upper abdomen. It usually occurs after eating, and can result in a feeling of over-fullness. In pregnancy it's caused by pregnancy hormones, as well as the extra pressure on the stomach and oesophagus (gullet) from your growing uterus.

In pregnancy, the commonest cause of indigestion is acid reflux, where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the gullet. It affects around 80% of mums-to-be at some point in their pregnancy but usually resolves after the birth.

What are the symptoms of Indigestion?

Pain or a burning sensation in the upper abdomen, made worse by eating; food coming back up; bloating; belching; nausea and general abdominal discomfort.

What are the treatments and remedies of Indigestion?

If the problem is very troublesome, there are some medicines, such as antacids, that you can take in pregnancy. Talk to your midwife or doctor or pharmacist before taking them, though. Indigestion rarely causes real problems, and you can usually help yourself by eating smaller meals more frequently or cutting out rich, spicy or 'windy' foods. Try not to eat within the three hours before going to bed, and sit upright when you do eat, to take the pressure off your stomach. Some expectant mums find that relaxing or sleeping propped up with pillows rather than lying flat helps, and others swear by drinking ginger or chamomile tea and eating more garlic.

This guide 

The information in this Bounty A-Z of Family Health is not a substitute for an examination, diagnosis or treatment by a doctor, midwife, health visitor or any other qualified health professional. If in doubt, always speak to a doctor.

Bounty will not be held responsible or liable for any injury, loss, damage, or illness, however this occurs or appears, after using the information given on this website and in particular the A-Z of Family Health.

Further help

For health advice and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the NHS offers call and web services. You can also visit NHS websites for services, health information and health news at nhs.uk 

  • England – call 111 from any landline or mobile phone free of charge, or visit nhs.uk 
  • Scotland – call 111 from any landline or mobile phone free of charge, or visit nhs24.com 
  • Wales – call 0845 4647 , or visit nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk 
  • Northern Ireland – visit hscni.net