Gas and bloating during pregnancy is a common symptom for most moms-to-be and is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. It can occur just a few weeks after you are pregnant and much before your belly begins to show.
What Causes Gas during Pregnancy?
The main reason for excess gas is because of an excess of progesterone hormone that helps your muscles relax throughout your body. This hormone relaxes your digestive tract as well and slows down digestion thus leading to gas, bloating, flatulence, and burping. You may have noticed an excess amount of gas especially after you just had a big meal.
In addition to gas and bloating, you may also notice that you are experiencing constipation and heartburn because the growing uterus puts pressure on your abdominal cavity and stomach, which makes you feel more bloated. This also slows down digestion even further.
Remedies for Gas and Bloating during Pregnancy
As your pregnancy progresses, you might find an increase in discomfort due to gas and bloating. Making a few lifestyle changes and keeping the following tips in mind will surely make it easier for you.
- Pay attention to your diet. You may have to change your diet during pregnancy and leave out food triggers from your meals till your gas symptoms are better. But keep in mind that you should eat a well-balanced diet and not try a restrictive diet. Eliminating foods like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, wheat, broccoli or potatoes that cause gas is a good idea.
- Keep hydrated. Water is best for providing hydration so getting at least two to three liters of water every day should be your target, but other fluids like juice can help as well. Always make sure that the juice you drink does not contain an excess amount of sugar, including carbonated drinks which can trigger gas and bloating. Fresh juices are the best. Safe options that you can try are pineapple, orange, grape, and cranberry juice. Monitor your intake of soda and sugary drinks and pay attention to gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Exercise. Exercise and is an important part of pregnancy so make it a point to walk or exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Exercise helps to keep you mentally and physically fit and it helps to speed up digestion and prevent constipation. Don’t do any strenuous exercise especially in the last trimester and always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regime. Prenatal yoga and breathing exercises can help relieve gas.
- Include fiber in your diet. Fiber helps to relieve constipation by bringing water to the intestine, softening your stool, and helping you to pass it easily. Include at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber in your food each day to help relieve gas in the long term. Good sources of fiber are figs, prunes, vegetables, and oats. You can also take fiber supplements like psyllium, or methylcellulose. Consult your doctor before taking fiber supplements.
- Eat probiotics. Probiotics are good for your gut and will help to support the good bacteria, thus combating gas and constipation. Try eating yogurt, miso, kimchi, kefir, and sourdough bread. Probiotic supplements are available, but it’s better to consult your doctor before taking supplements.
- Eat smaller meals. Eating a large meal at once can put added pressure on your stomach and intestines and make it harder to digest your food. Instead, eat several small meals throughout the day and take time to chew your food well. Don’t drink too much during your meals but keep hydrated throughout the day.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is injurious to health especially during pregnancy. It also causes stomach acidity which can increase discomfort during pregnancy. Try to give up smoking during pregnancy.
- Have a warm drink. Warm chamomile tea or lemon juice with warm water can help to relieve constipation. Drinking a warm drink at night also helps you to sleep better.
- Use stool softeners. After consulting with your doctor, consider taking a stool softener to help with constipation. Not all stool softeners are safe during pregnancy so you need to be careful about what you take.
How Long Will the Bloating Last?
Bloating and gas only tend to get worse as your pregnancy progresses. This is because your baby is growing and will continue to put additional pressure on your stomach and intestines. So you will just have to bear with it and try different remedies to lessen the gas throughout your pregnancy.
Surprisingly, stress and anxiety during pregnancy can also cause bloating and gas because it increases the amount of air that you swallow. Try to remain stress-free as much as possible. If you have other kids, get someone else to look after them or help you with chores. Enjoy your pregnancy days and wait patiently for your baby to arrive!