Pain in the pit of the stomach in pregnancy: causes and remedies

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Pain in the pit of the stomach in pregnancy

Heartburn is a very common ailment during pregnancy and affects between 17 and 45 percent of expectant mothers. But what caused the pain in the pit of the stomach in pregnancy and what are the remedies?

In this article

  • Pain during the first trimester
  • Pain during the second trimester
  • Stomach pain during the third trimester of pregnancy
  • What to take?
  • Stomach pain in pregnancy, possible causes
  • Stomach pain in pregnancy, when to worry?
  • Remedies for stomach pain in pregnancy

Pain during the first trimester

Stomach pain is most common in early pregnancy, when i hormonal changes they can trigger the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness. In this case, poor digestion and constipation can promote heartburn.

Pain during the second trimester

In the middle of the second trimester, around the twentieth week, the stomach pain usually goes away. This is a positive phase of pregnancy: the belly is not too heavy yet and it does not compress the stomach and the cardia, the valve that prevents swallowed food from going up to the esophagus, causing reflux. However, heartburn may appear sporadically, especially when you eat foods that are too heavy and difficult to digest, or if you overdo it with coffee.

Stomach pain during the third trimester of pregnancy

In the third trimester, abdominal pain may reappear as the uterus begins to become bulky and put significant pressure on the organs and stomach.

Stomach pain in the third trimester may indicate a more serious problem if it occurs in association with other symptoms, such as itching, fever, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding.

What to take?

If the cause is the reflux the doctor may prescribe an antacid such as Maalox which can be taken during pregnancy, but also products based on alginic acid: it is a substance that, inside the stomach, transforms into a gel that creates a mechanical barrier and protects the esophageal mucosa from gastric juices.

It is also worth trying a chamomile tea, not hot, but lukewarm, or an herbal tea.

Formulations based on are also useful for heartburn sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate which neutralize the acid in the stomach and therefore give relief.

Stomach pain in pregnancy, possible causes

Among the most common causes of stomach pain there are:

  • Constipation and constipation: in the first trimester it is essentially caused by hormonal changes, while in late pregnancy it is linked to the pressure exerted by the belly and the expanding uterus.
  • Reflux: a common symptom of gastric reflux is a burning sensation in the stomach and is caused by progesterone: this hormone decreases gastric mobility and peristaltic movements which increase the time for stomach emptying, so food remains more time in the stomach and the contact of gastric juices with the esophagus can cause reflux. Also as the pregnancy progresses and the uterus grows the problem can worsen due to the pressure on the digestive tract. Reflux worsens when lying down: Acid reflux causes pain that can go up to the chest and cause a burning sensation.
  • Stretch marks: the classic sensation of stretching of the skin that is linked to the formation of the hated stretch marks in pregnancy can cause itching and tension on the skin, on the surface, but also a slight burning and pain in the pit of the stomach.
  • Abdominal and muscle pain: The abdominal muscle bands must dilate and stretch to make room for the growing fetus and changing uterus, this can easily cause muscle pain.
Read also: Itching in pregnancy

Stomach pain in pregnancy, when to worry

Pregnancy-related hormonal changes can cause a condition called cholestasis gravidarum. For most women, the first symptom is itching. Some also experience pain in the upper abdomen associated with nausea, vomiting, or yellowing of the eyes or skin.

Go to the emergency room or call a doctor right away to:

  • severe abdominal pain in the upper stomach, especially if it is on the right side or if the pain is unbearable
  • abdominal pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
  • contractions that occur at regular intervals
  • abdominal pain and fever
  • symptoms of hypertension, such as dizziness, difficulty breathing, severe headache or intense fatigue
  • itching, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or vomiting.

Remedies for stomach pain in pregnancy

Some useful tips to relieve pain in the pit of the stomach in pregnancy:

  • Eating high-fiber foods can help;
  • eat sitting with your back straight and staying upright for half an hour after a meal;
  • Chew slowly;
  • sleeping with a pillow in order to keep the head and shoulders higher than the body;
  • to wear comfortable clothes that do not squeeze on the stomach;
  • if you suffer from constipation Taking a mild laxative can help, but it's always important to talk to your gynecologist before taking any medications and supplements of any kind;
  • in case of reflux it may be useful to take over-the-counter anti-reflux drugs, eat smaller and more frequent meals, eliminate acidic foods from the diet: increasing the intake of vitamins B1 and B2 can help control acidity;
  • for the stretch marks it is useful to take showers with lukewarm water to relieve discomfort and massage the skin with an elasticizing oil specific for pregnancy from the first weeks and until after childbirth;
  • for pain related to the abdominal muscles it is advisable to rest and do gentle stretching exercises, massage the area to relieve muscle tension and stress.

Questions and answers

What to take in pregnancy for stomach pain?

Natural remedies based on alginic acid which creates a protective barrier in the stomach and protects the esophageal mucosa from gastric juices, or products based on sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate are indicated.

When does the pit of the stomach hurt?

The classic heartburn can be caused by reflux, that is the ascent of gastric juices from the stomach to the esophagus, but also by incorrect nutrition and bad habits.

How is gastritis treated in pregnancy?

In more serious cases of reflux, the doctor may prescribe anti-reflux drugs, which are safe even in pregnancy.


  • Heartburn in pregnancy
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