Doctors prescribe a lot of medicines and supplements during pregnancy to relieve various discomforts.
But to make this journey even more glorious, they will offer supplements to ease stomach distress. Almost all the complaints during this involved troubles with digestion. So, the primary goal is to make things easier.
However, this period is also quite vulnerable and may cause adverse reactions from certain drugs and supplements. In such cases, can you take digestive enzymes while pregnant to help digestion?
Digestive enzymes are safe to take for everyone, including pregnant women. They help with digestion by breaking the food quickly and adequately. Hence, common issues like an upset stomach or bloating are reduced.
Nevertheless, these supplements aren’t FDA approved and are still under experiment, so be careful before taking them.
Learn more about digestive enzymes, their benefits and problems during pregnancy, and other supplements you can take to remain healthy.
Can You Take Digestive Enzymes While Pregnant?
The answer is yes, it is safe. However, it all depends on the health condition of the pregnant woman.
Digestive enzymes aid in the breakdown of food, facilitating nutrient absorption and easing digestive discomfort. Some pregnant women may experience digestive issues such as bloating or indigestion due to hormonal changes and the pressure exerted on the digestive system by the growing uterus.
Does creatine make you bloated like the digestive enzymes?
However, the safety of specific enzymes during pregnancy can vary, and dosages should be carefully monitored.
So, don’t only rely on synthetic versions of digestive enzymes, but also obtain a well-balanced diet, stay hydrated, and incorporate natural sources of digestive enzymes. But most importantly, consult with a healthcare provider if you are determined to take these enzymes during pregnancy.
Are Enzymes Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers?
Digestive enzymes are also safe for breastfeeding mothers. These aid in the breakdown of food and are typically well-tolerated.
Besides, digestive enzymes are crucial to increase milk production and quality for a healthy gut. This will, in turn, improve babies’ gut health and prevent different digestive issues for both the mother and baby.
Again, individual reactions can vary, so keep in touch with a pediatrician to ensure your baby’s well-being during breastfeeding.
The Role of Digestive Enzymes in the Body
Digestive enzymes are essential proteins produced by various organs, such as the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and small intestine, to help digestion.
Each type of enzyme has a specific function:
- Amylase breaks down carbohydrates into simpler sugars.
- Lipase digests fats into fatty acids and glycerol.
- Protease breaks down proteins into amino acids.
- Lactase converts lactose in milk into glucose and galactose.
- Peptidase helps break down peptides into individual amino acids.
These enzymes are crucial in breaking down complex food molecules into smaller, absorbable components, enabling the body to extract essential nutrients and energy for growth and maintenance.
Proper nutrient absorption would be compromised without these enzymes, causing different health problems.
Why are Digestive Enzymes Important in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy induces various physiological changes for fetal growth, imposing additional stress on the digestive system. Hormonal fluctuations, notably increased progesterone levels, can slow digestion, and discomforts like bloating, gas, and indigestion can occur.
Digestive enzymes aid the body’s natural digestive processes during pregnancy. Enzymes such as amylase, protease, and lipase play specific roles in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, respectively, into smaller, absorbable molecules. So, taking digestive enzymes can relieve discomfort and enhance nutrient absorption during pregnancy.
However, avoid enzymes from pineapple and papaya that can be harmful during pregnancy.
Factors to Consider Before Taking Digestive Enzymes
Besides consulting a healthcare professional, consider other factors before deciding on digestive enzymes.
- Except for prenatal vitamins, most supplements warn that they are unsafe for pregnant or nursing women. This is because testing supplements on pregnant women is not ethical or safe. So, be careful about what you take. But can prenatal vitamins cause acne?
- The quality of supplements in stores can be very different because the FDA doesn’t regulate them. They might not follow proper storage or expiration dates, so that the products could go bad.
- To stay safe, only use products from trusted companies checked by third parties for strength and quality.
Potential Risks and Benefits
Digestive enzymes provide relief and support during pregnancy. But these can also cause some side effects due to the lack of research and regulation by high authorities. So, be aware of the benefits and limitations before taking them.
- Relief from Digestive Issues: Digestive enzymes can remove common discomforts like bloating, gas, and indigestion often experienced during pregnancy.
- Support for Nutrient Absorption: Proper use of digestive enzymes may enhance nutrient absorption, ensuring the mother and the developing baby receive essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for optimal growth.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Certain enzymes, such as bromelain and papain, present in some digestive supplements, have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties that can help with swelling and inflammation.
Drawbacks and Considerations
- Ingredient Caution: Some digestive enzymes may contain ingredients like bromelain and papain derived from pineapple and papaya, which may not be suitable for pregnant women.
- Limited Research: The safety and efficacy of digestive enzymes during pregnancy are not fully established due to limited research.
- Quality and Regulation: The quality of digestive enzyme supplements can vary, as the FDA does not regulate them.
- Not a Substitute for a Healthy Diet: While digestive enzymes can be beneficial, they should not replace a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet. So, you can eat foods with digestive enzymes to remain healthy.
Top Supplements to Take for Pregnancy
Other than digestive enzymes, there are a lot of beneficial supplements to take to help during pregnancy.
- Prenatal vitamins for nausea, stomach discomfort, and the baby’s good health.
- Probiotics to improve the baby’s immune system.
- Omega-3 fatty acids for the brain and nervous system.
- Calcium for bone and teeth development.
- Magnesium relieves stomach and bladder distress and cramps.
- Collagen protein for strengthening the connective tissues.
Natural Ways to Boost Digestive Health
You can also try some natural approaches for better digestion during pregnancy involves.
- Take more frequent but smaller meals.
- Select foods rich in fiber to prevent constipation.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn and indigestion.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Include mild exercise in your daily routine.
- Eat foods high in probiotics, like yogurt and fermented vegetables.
- Chew your food well for easier digestion.
What Are Some Good Sources Of Digestive Enzymes?
Digestive enzymes can be obtained from various food sources, and incorporating these into your diet can improve digestion. These are better than supplements since they are found in natural sources, minus the risk of side effects.
- Pineapple: Contains bromelain, which aids in the digestion of proteins.
- Papaya: Contains papain, which helps break down proteins.
- Mango: Contains amylases, which assist in the digestion of carbohydrates.
- Avocado: Contains lipase, which helps in the digestion of fats.
- Sauerkraut: A fermented cabbage dish that provides probiotics and enzymes that aid digestion.
- Kefir and Yogurt: Fermented dairy products containing probiotics and enzymes promote gut health.
- Ginger: Contains zingibain, which assists in protein digestion.
- Honey: Contains amylases and proteases, aiding in carbohydrate and protein digestion.
- Banana: Contains amylases, helping with carbohydrate digestion.
- Kiwi: Contains actinidain, which aids in the digestion of proteins.
In addition to incorporating these foods into your diet, maintaining a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can naturally provide a variety of enzymes that support digestion.
How To Take Digestive Enzymes During Pregnancy?
Digestive enzymes don’t need a strict regime but only a simple guideline that should be followed carefully to avoid unwanted side effects.
Consult Your Healthcare Provider
Consult your obstetrician or healthcare provider before adding digestive enzymes to the routine. They can decide on the type or amount based on your health status, medical history, and specific needs during pregnancy.
Follow Recommended Dosages
Take the digestive enzyme supplement according to the recommended dosage on the product label or as your healthcare provider advises.
Take with Meals
Digestive enzymes are typically taken with meals to assist in the breakdown of food components at the recommended time.
Monitor for Any Adverse Reactions
Pay attention to how your body responds to the digestive enzyme supplement. If you experience any adverse reactions or discomfort, discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.
Adequate hydration is essential for overall health and digestion. Ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day.
What drugs interact with digestive enzymes?
Digestive enzymes can interact with certain medications. For example, anticoagulants like warfarin may be affected by bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, while protease inhibitors used for HIV treatment could interact with protease enzymes in supplements. Additionally, certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers used for acid reflux, might impact the effectiveness of digestive enzymes.
Who can take digestive enzymes?
Anyone can take digestive enzymes unless these don’t cause allergic reactions. But these are especially important for people with digestive distress. So, if you have lactose intolerance, pancreatic problems, celiac disease, or an irritable bowel with food sensitivity, take digestive enzymes per the doctor’s suggestion.
So, taking digestive enzymes isn’t a problem at all. Instead, you will have some relief from digestive issues throughout pregnancy. These will also keep you away from other discomforts. However, you should be aware that these aren’t FDA-approved limitations. To determine a reliable one is quite tricky.
Hence, the best practice would be to talk to your healthcare professional to check whether you can take digestive enzymes and which one to take. You can also get a routine about the time and dosage to take them.
But most importantly, try safe, natural sources that help digestion. In addition, you can also consult about a daily list of supplements and foods to take to help with the issues during pregnancy.
I am a health and wellness enthusiast working in a Pittsburgh-based wellness clinic. My primary role as a consultant is to tailor a balanced lifestyle for my patients, where positive steps and potent supplements play a synergistic role.