You’re pregnant and you notice that you’re passing more gas than you usually would, and at times, it’s painful. Gas and bloating during pregnancy is not uncommon and can be caused by your hormones as well as the food that you eat. Here are some things you can do to help relieve gas during pregnancy.
What causes gas during pregnancy?
Gas pain during pregnancy can be mild to severe. Some women experience severe pain in their abdomen, chest, back and even experience intestinal cramps.
The main cause of gas during pregnancy is increased levels of progesterone.
Pressure onto the abdominal cavity from your growing uterus can also cause digestion to slow down and cause gas to build up. The food that you eat and the prenatal vitamins that you’re on can also contribute to gas and constipation.
Gas during pregnancy first trimester
Your body undergoes incredible hormonal changes during the first trimester. Both progesterone and estrogen levels increase to prepare your body to support the growing fetus.
Progesterone causes your muscles to relax, including your intestinal muscles. When this occurs, digestion slows down significantly which leads to gas. Increased estrogen levels cause your body to retain and preserve water and gas.
Gas during pregnancy second and third trimester
During the second and third trimesters, the position of the uterus shifts in order to accommodate the fetus that is growing. Your uterus expands and the additional pressure to the surrounding organs results in digestive issues. This can lead to constipation, excess gas and uncomfortable bloating.
How to relieve gas during pregnancy?
While the changes in your body during pregnancy can be rather uncomfortable, they are important to ensure that your baby grows and develops well.
Following lifestyle and dietary changes can help to alleviate discomfort caused by gas and bloating.
1# Drink lots of fluids
Drinking plenty of water will help to keep things moving through your digestive tract. This will help in preventing gas and bloating due to constipation. You should be taking about eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day.
If you are taking fruit juices, be aware of how much sugar they contain. Try cranberry, pineapple, orange and grape juice as they are low in gas promoting sugars.
In addition to keeping your body fit, exercising can also help to speed up digestion and lower the chance of constipation. Try adding a 30-minute walk or some low impact exercise to your daily routine.
Check with your doctor before starting, if you’re not usually active, or if you have any concerns with regards to your exercise regimen.
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For exercises that you can do when you’re pregnant, read ‘Pregnancy Exercises: 5 Easy Workouts for Every Trimester’.
3# Check your diet
Certain types of food can cause gassiness and bloat. An elimination diet to remove food triggers from your diet may help to decrease gas and bloating.
However, do remember to continue on a healthy and balanced diet to ensure that you and your baby are getting adequate nutrition. Avoid restrictive diets and only remove foods that are causing gas.
Foods that can cause gas
Some common foods that cause gas are:
- Whole grains
- Certain vegetables that contain raffinose such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cabbage and cauliflower
- Fructose from vegetables and fruits such as leeks, artichokes, onions, dried fruit, pears, apples, canned tomatoes, fruit juice.
- Carbonated drinks
- Wheat, corn and potatoes
- Dairy products
- High-fat foods
- Fried foods
4# Fill up on high fibre foods
Fibre works to bring water into your intestines and this helps to soften stool, making it easier for you to pass and thus, reducing gas and constipation problems. Try having 25 to 30g of high fibre foods in your diet.
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Prunes, bananas, and figs are fruits that contain a lot of fibre. Fibre supplements are another option to consider but do check with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for your pregnancy.
5# Take your time when you eat
Eating quickly can cause you to take in air with each bite. The air then settles in your stomach and can cause gas bubbles. Taking your time to eat, chewing your food properly and eating smaller meals can help.
Good bacteria from foods that contain probiotics such as yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and sourdough bread can help to fight gas and constipation in addition to keeping your gut healthy. If you’re considering a prebiotic supplement, check with your doctor before purchasing it.
Stress, anxiety and worry can be a factor in indigestion and cause gas to build up. Additionally, it’s not healthy for your pregnancy. Try to eliminate stress factors and engage in relaxation techniques such as meditation, and deep breathing. Let your doctor know if you’re having a hard time with stress and anxiety.
8# Dress comfortably
Tight pants and belts can press on your intestines and make you feel even more uncomfortable. Try wearing clothes that do not put pressure on your abdominal area.
9# Massage your abdomen
An abdominal massage can help to ease gas and constipation. Start by rubbing your tummy gently in a circular motion from your right hip bone.
Move above to your right ribs, right across your ribcage and then lower to your left hip, followed by your belly button. Do this for about 10 minutes.
Photo by Ania Rude from Pexels
Positions to relieve gas during pregnancy
- Squat – Try squatting down several times. To do this, bend your knees with your butt pushed back, just like how you would sit on a chair. It works because the squat is a natural position for pushing and repeating it a few times will help you get rid of gas.
- Child’s pose – Doing this can help trapped gas move through your digestive tract. Begin on all fours and then move your hands forward slowly. Lower your chest to the floor as close as possible. Make sure that the position of your butt is higher than your belly. Hold the position for a while.
While these positions can help to relieve gas, be sure to take to new positions slowly. Stop immediately if you feel that something is not right.
When to call a doctor?
While having some gas and bloating is common when you’re pregnant, it’s wise to call the doctor or head to the emergency room if you experience any of the following:
- The gas is getting worse and pain is increasing
- The constipation is getting worse
- You experience extreme nausea or vomiting
- There is blood in your stool
- You think the pain is from contractions
Gas can be uncomfortable and painful but most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. Eating well and drinking plenty of water can help to alleviate gas symptoms.
For more information on what to expect when you’re expecting, check out this article ‘What Happens In Each Trimester of Pregnancy? Here It is!’
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