Gas and Bloating During Pregnancy
Are your burps, farts and general flatulence rivaling that of a frat boy these days? Worst part is, you don’t even get to use beer-guzzling as an excuse. But that gas and bloating you’re experiencing are normal symptoms of pregnancy, and while you shouldn’t be surprised if they bubble up, there are some things you can do to keep them at bay.
Oh gas, how do we hate thee—let us count the ways. Abdominal pain or tightening, belching, farting and other nasties are all typical signs of gas and bloating, and while they’re no fun, they sort of come with the job of carrying a baby (sorry). According to the March of Dimes, most pregnant women get gas and bloating at some point in pregnancy. Consider this par for the course.
Progesterone (one of those pregnancy hormones) is relaxing smooth muscle tissue all over your body, including in your gastrointestinal tract. This makes your gut work slower, giving your body more time to snatch up nutrients from your food and take them to baby—and that translates into gas for you. Later in pregnancy, your bulging uterus starts pushing up on your stomach and down on your rectum, meaning you’re more likely to experience heartburn and constipation (which can lead to more gas and bloating).
The good news is gas and bloating shouldn’t affect baby at all. But if you’re also experiencing severe nausea, excessive vomiting or bloody stools—or if you think your abdominal pains could actually be contractions—call your ob-gyn ASAP.
So what can you do for gas and bloating in pregnancy? Luckily, there are ways to relieve some of the pressure:
• Eat small, regular meals and stay away from foods that tend to give you gas. Fried foods, sweets, cabbage and beans are common culprits, but you might find other foods that are particularly troublesome.
• Eating and drinking slowly will keep you from swallowing excess air (you’ll later use this technique when feeding baby!).
• Loose clothing will keep you comfy while you’re battling the bloat.
• Yoga classes can also help settle things down.
• Ask your doctor before taking any medications.
“I was struggling with major gas pains for quite a few weeks (weeks 19 to 22). I’ve learned to help control it and have not had nearly as many issues. Try eating small meals throughout the day. Avoid things that are hard to digest, like corn and some really starchy foods. Also, I find some relief drinking hot ginger teas.”
“I’ve had so much trapped gas that my belly got rock-hard, with so much pain. I’ve found that eating too many carbs too quickly (especially bread) aggravates it, and so does too much dairy and sugar. I’m trying to stick to drinking things without a lot of sugar in them, less bread and dairy, and eating more fiber.”
“For me, the occasional Dulcolax and eating prunes has helped a lot. I also eat a big bowl of Raisin Bran in the morning and try to drink lots of water. This has helped, but I’m not totally back to my ‘normal self.’”
Plus, more from The Bump: