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Pregnancy is a phase of great changes in your body, and you need to take care of yourself as much as possible. Without the proper care, you could face several issues that harm you and your baby. One such issue is gas and bloating. Although this is quite normal for many people, it is necessary that you take care of your health to avoid discomfort because of a gas problem during pregnancy.
Are Gas and Bloating During Pregnancy Normal?
Passing gas up to 12 times in a day is normal, but during pregnancy, you might do so even more often. It is a good idea to loosen your pants for relief from bloating. This can happen weeks before your tummy starts to grow.
Later as your baby grows the uterus occupies most of the abdominal cavity, pushing against your stomach and other organs. This can slow down your digestion and increase gas problem during pregnancy.
Experiencing gas trouble during pregnancy is entirely normal. Here’s why.
One common reason for gas trouble during pregnancy is the physical and hormonal changes in your body. The heightened progesterone levels in your blood relax the muscles in your entire body this also includes your digestive tract. This causes slowing down of your digestion, causing gas, bloating, belching, flatulence, discomfort in your stomach, etc., especially after a large meal. The slowing down of the digestion also causes other problems like constipation and heartburn, even if you’ve never faced them before.
Foods That Cause Gases and Bloating During Pregnancy
The gas enters the body through your mouth and is released by belching. Your gut also produces gas as a result of digestion. This happens when the bacteria break down the undigested food.
Some foods which cause gas and bloating are:
- Whole grains, beans, and a few vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus.
- Fructose: Some foods like onions, honey, canned tomatoes, pears, ketchup, etc., contain a type of sugar called fructose which contributes to gas and bloating.
- Starches: Some starches like corn, wheat, and potatoes cause gas. Rice however, does not.
- Fibre-rich foods: Some foods rich in fibre, such as peas, oat brans etc., cause gas.
- Dairy products: A large portion of the world suffers from lactose intolerance. This is quite common in Asia. Whenever lactose intolerant person eats dairy products, they feel bloated or complain of gas. This happens because their body is unable to produce lactase that helps digest dairy products.
- Fried and high-fat foods are also known to cause gas.
Some other factors that cause gas problems in pregnancy are:
- Constipation: Whenever the bowel movements slow down, gas builds up in your gut, and you may not be able to poop.
- Food Sensitivity: Your stomach might be sensitive to some kind of food. Find out what food this is and avoid eating them to avoid.`
- Bacterial Imbalance In The Colon: An imbalance in the number of bacteria in your gut can also cause gas in your belly and lead to bloating and other gas problems. Consult with your doctor to get a better picture of this and help with the cure.
Most symptoms of gas are extremely obvious. Some of them are:
- Passing of gas, either voluntarily or involuntarily
- Sharp jabbing pains in the abdomen which keep shifting, but also get relieved quickly
- The feeling of a knot in your belly
- Swelling and tightness of the abdomen
Sometimes pain from the gas can be so serious and constant that you might suspect a bigger problem too.
Remedies to Get Relief From Gas and Bloating When Pregnant
As your baby grows bigger and your uterus expands, gas can become a bigger problem. But there are several home remedies for gastric problem during pregnancy that help you get relief from this. These methods do not cause any harm to your unborn child. Follow these remedies regularly to get relief.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Aim to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. You can also include other fluids along with water, but ensure that you get enough fluids in your system in a day.
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ensure you drink juices containing low amounts of FODMAP (natural short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols such as glucose or fructose). You can try cranberry, pineapple, grape or orange juice, as these contain low levels of FODMAP.
2. Physical Activity
Exercise and physical activity should be a part of your daily routine. Try walking for at least half an hour every day.
This can speed up your digestion and prevent constipation, further reducing the symptoms of gas and bloating. Before you start any exercise, be sure to consult with your doctor.
3. Test Your Diet
Try switching foods to find out which ones affect you the most. You can also maintain a diary to remember which food caused your symptoms of bloating. Food (vegetables) that cause gas include cabbage, potatoes, sprouts, etc.
If you are suffering from IBS, speak to your doctor before starting any diet. The low FODMAP diet is extremely restrictive and can affect your baby by not providing adequate nutrition, so consider adding supplements in consultation with your doctors.
4. Consume Loads of Fibres
Sometimes foods that increase the symptoms of gas can actually cure the symptoms of constipation instead. Fibre is one such substance: it increases the water content in your intestines and softens the stools to help pass them with ease.
Include at least 25 to 30 grams of fibre in your diet to be able to reduce constipation and reduce gas problems. This can also be an answer to how to relieve severe gas pain while pregnant.
5. Elevate Your Legs
If your belly seems bloated, sit in a position where you can elevate your legs. This will reduce the pressure of your baby on your stomach and let your gut digest food more freely.
Avoid wearing tight clothes during pregnancy to let your gut digest food properly.
6. Eat Smaller Meals
The growing baby takes up most of the space in your abdomen, reducing the space for your gut to digest, and having larger meals could make it difficult for you to digest the food, making you feel bloated.
Instead, break this up into several smaller meals during the day. This could help you with indigestion as well.
Some yoga positions can help you get rid of gas. Try these to help you get relief from gas and flatulence during pregnancy.
However, ensure that you consult with your doctor before you try yoga and contact a prenatal yoga instructor.
8. Avoid Stress
Sometimes stress can also lead to a bloated feeling in your belly. This is because, whenever you are tense, you tend to take in a lot of air, leading to burping a lot while pregnant.
Besides this, stress can also have other effects on your child. Remain relaxed as much as possible and keep yourself and your baby happy.
9. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Avoid tight clothes during pregnancy to let your gut digest food properly.
Although maternity jeans offer ample space for your growing baby, they can still be restrictive enough to constrict the space your stomach needs to digest food.
10. Fenugreek Seeds
This is a great remedy for gas and bloating in early pregnancy as well as in the later stages.
Just soak a spoon of fenugreek seeds in water for 6-7 hours or overnight. Take the seeds out and drink this water for relief.
Are Gas and Bloating During Pregnancy a Sign of Worry?
Most of the time gas is a simple reaction to an improper pregnancy diet or the result of heightened levels of progesterone. But if you are constantly feeling bloated and suffer from flatulence or belching during pregnancy, then this could be a sign that something is wrong. If you have also been suffering from constipation for more than a week or have severe pain for more than 30 minutes, this could even become serious. Ensure that you consult with your doctor and get professional treatment.
Many mothers-to-be approach their doctors with the question, ‘is gas or feeling bloated a pregnancy symptom?‘ It must be remembered that having gas does not mean that you are pregnant. A pregnancy test is the best way to check for pregnancy. While gas and bloating during pregnancy cause discomfort, they pose no threat to the child and can easily be treated with a few diet and lifestyle changes.