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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Coping with symptoms in pregnancy

Common symptoms during pregnancy include nausea and vomiting, constipation, feeling full soon after eating and heartburn. Eat as well as you can and try the suggestions below.

Talk to your LMC or GP before you take any medications or supplements for your symptoms, or if your symptoms are severe.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be reduced by:


Constipation can occur when you're pregnant due to hormonal changes that affect the muscles of your bowel and because your growing pēpi (baby) can press against your bowel.

Eating plenty of fibre-rich foods and drinking at least nine cups of fluid a day can help relieve constipation.

Try to have plenty of fibre-rich foods at all meals. Fibre-rich foods include:

If you're already eating plenty of fibre-rich foods and drinking plenty of fluids, adding more probably won’t help. In this case, you could try having one of the following for a few days to see if it helps:

Being active can also help keep your bowels regular. Try to include some activity such as walking, swimming, playing with your children or housework every day.

Feeling full soon after eating

Feeling full soon after eating (called early satiety) is common in pregnancy, especially if you're carrying twins or triplets. It can happen as your pēpi babies grow and push on your stomach, making it smaller. Early satiety can make it difficult for you to gain weight and get all the nutrients you and your pēpi need to stay healthy.

There are several tips for early satiety.


Heartburn is caused by the acidic stomach contents moving back up the oesophagus. This is due to pregnancy hormones relaxing the muscles that control the opening into your stomach. As your pēpi grows, more pressure is put on your stomach, which increases the risk of heartburn.

To manage heartburn, you could try:

Avoid foods and drinks that trigger heartburn. Some foods and drinks can make heartburn worse in some people. These include:

Written by Nutrition and Dietetics, Christchurch Women's Hospital. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2021.

Page reference: 509472

Review key: HIPRC-41255