Turns out we don’t have a ton of data on this, but my clinical experience says – it depends on the person!
There are MANY changes our bodies go through when pregnant – some of which could potentially improve IBS symptoms and some of which could make it worse.
Let’s talk hormones first.
When you’re pregnant, estrogen and progesterone production go up, which research has found is associated with a reduction in pain sensitivity. In fact, some patients notice complete resolution of their IBS symptoms during pregnancy – this may be one contributing factor!
At the same time, progesterone and relaxin can slow gastric emptying and transit time (hello nausea, reflux and constipation), which in constipated patients can be a curse, and in diarrhea dominant patients, can be a blessing! 💩
Then of course there are mechanics involved! 🔧
With your uterus expanding and baby growing, which displaces the bowel and can increase the sensation of pressure and discomfort.
As well, blood flow increases during pregnancy, increasing risk of hemmorhoids which can make it much more uncomfortable to pass stool. 😣
In some patients, IBS symptoms can improve in pregnancy, in others they can get worse. The key takeaway here is, you don’t need to suffer. Working with a dietitian (@ignite.nutrition.inc) can help to tackle the challenges as they come up, whether it’s nausea, reflux, constipation, hemmorhoids as you move through your pregnancy!