Causes of upset stomach after meals during pregnancy

Sep 15, 2012

Quick Bites:
  • Food poisoning is common during pregnancy.
  • If you're lactose intolerant, you should extra careful during pregnancy.
  • Overeating can cause nausea and stomach pain.
  • A slow digestive process also leads to indigestion.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, almost half of all pregnant women complain of upset stomach, especially after eating meals. Listed below are some causes of upset stomach during pregnancy and their preventive measures.

Food Borne Poisoning

Food positioning during pregnancy accounts for various maternal and foetal complications and causes severe stomach cramping. Apart from an upset stomach, it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea and dehydration. Food poisoning occurs if you have consumed food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli, salmonella or Listeria. During pregnancy, your body is increasingly sensitive to food borne diseases, thus adopting preventive measures is  necessary. A mom-to-be should refrain from consuming street food, stale food and unpasteurised milk.  Uncooked or partially cooked food is dangerous too. Before eating snacks, such as hotdog, burger or patties, reheat them until they are steamy.

Stomach Upset during Pregnancy

Lactose Intolerance

Are you intolerant to lactose? Well, in such a case, abstain from eating dairy products. Lactose intolerance during pregnancy can cause gas, bloated belly and diarrhoea. Asian and Hispanic-American women are more lactose intolerant compared with women of other races. Consuming a dairy product even in small quantity can increase pregnancy discomfort making you experience abdominal pain and bouts of vomiting and nausea. Similarly, fructose intolerance presents the same symptoms. Therefore, if you are fructose intolerant, avoid its sources, such as fruits and honey for your well-being.


Nausea after Overeating

Stomach pain after eating during pregnancy can be associated with nausea post meals. Expecting mums usually complain about sudden food cravings. To satiate themselves, they at times, indulge in binge eating or have too much of their desired food. Overeating makes them nauseated. This is indicative of indigestion. To avoid nausea related stomach pain, pregnant women may take some preventive measures, such as:

  • Avoid consuming an item if its smell makes you feel sick
  • Consume foods that do not causes nausea, such as saltine crackers, grapes, mashed potatoes
  • Upset stomach during pregnancy can be relieved by drinking lemon soda electrolyte-containing drinks with meals.


Normally, your body takes over 6 to 24 hours to digest food and eliminate the waste from your body, but during pregnancy, your digestive process slows down extremely to extract additional nutrients from the food, thus frequently resulting in indigestion and upset stomach. To prevent indigestion during pregnancy, take smaller and frequent meals and drink plenty of water to facilitate early digestion. Fibre foods are light and require lesser digestion time than oily and calorie-laden foods. Thus, include more fibre-rich items in your diet.


If you persistently experience stomach problems despite taking all the necessary measures, there may be an underlying medical condition pricking your stomach. Talk to your doctor at the earliest.


Read more articles on Pregnancy Problems.