Many pregnant women commonly compliant with gaseous abdominal discomfort and bloating or indigestion. Some may have also farting excessively. This causes embarrassing moments for them. A pregnant lady may pass gas or fart around 18 times a day.
What causes gas and bloating during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the body passes through many changes for the proper development and growth of the baby. Among these changes, excessive production of progesterone hormone is common. It is a very important hormone for the growth of the baby. It relaxes the muscles of the body and intestine also. Relaxation of intestinal muscle results in a slowdown of the intestinal activity and digestive process resulting in gas formation, flatulence, bloating, and constipation also.
Another reason is the increased size of the uterus due to the growing fetus which causes pressure on the entire abdomen. This also causes a slow down of digestion during pregnancy.
Iron-containing vitamin supplement is commonly prescribed by doctors. Iron is a common cause for constipation and constipation leads to fullness of the abdomen and gas formation.
Some foods and bad habits of eating result in gas formation. Beans, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, raisins, prunes, onions, lentils, cheese, ice cream, apples, excessive oily, and fried foods are some foods that have gas-forming tendency.
Some eating habits such as eating and swallowing food bolus hurriedly can also result in swallowing excess air with the food bolus.
Bedrest: Some doctors also advise complete bedrest if your pregnancy is high risk. This causes a slow down in metabolism and an increase in constipation resulting in a gaseous abdomen.
How to relieve gas at home in pregnancy?
Here are few tips to relieve and avoid the formation of gas during pregnancy.
Increase water intake:
Daily water intake and watery fruits such as oranges, coconut water should be increased if you drink less fluid per day. This will keep you hydrated and relieve constipation.
In fluid intake, you should avoid carbonated and sugar-containing drinks. Sometimes high sugar drinks may worsen the condition.
Change food eating habits:
Take your food at regular intervals, take a small quantity of food bolus and chew it properly. Don’t eat and swallow in hurry. Also, drink any liquid slowly. All these good habits prevent you from swallowing excess air and also helps to digest food easily.
Wear light and loose clothes to be comfortable and to avoid extra pressure on the abdomen.
Healthy and fiber-containing foods:
Avoid and eat less quantity of gas-forming foods as mentioned above. Also avoid sugar products such as ice cream, chocolate, cake, pastries, oily and fried foods.
Increase fiber-containing foods. It will help to relieve constipation which is a common problem in pregnancy. But remember, if you are not habitual to a high fiber diet, you should initially eat less quantity of high fiber foods and then slowly increase to a high fiber diet. Because taking a high fiber diet suddenly may disturb your digestion initially.
Exercise and yoga:
During pregnancy, it is advisable to do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, light-stretching, yoga poses, breathing exercises, etc. It is also recommended by the CDC and the American College of obstetricians and gynecologists. These light yoga poses and exercises are beneficial to relieve gas production and constipation.
Excessive worry and stress disturb digestion. Try to be fresh-minded and relieve the stress and worry by Yoga, Pranayam, relaxation techniques, meditation, etc.
Avoid smoking and chewing gum:
Both these causes swallowing of excess air. Smoking is not a healthy habit for your growing baby. Some artificial sweeteners present in chewing gum can also cause gas formation. So both these habits should be avoided.
Some medicines like simethicone help to relieve gas and bloating. It is also considered safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Any other medication must only be taken after consultation with your doctor.
When to consult a doctor?
Some other disease conditions should also be differentiated from painful gaseous conditions of the abdomen during pregnancy such as round ligament pain, stone in gallbladder, inflammation of the appendix, irritable bowel syndrome, ectopic pregnancy, infection in the urinary tract, etc.
You should immediately consult your doctor for further care and treatment if your gas, bloating or constipation doesn’t relieve, your condition is getting worse, having severe nausea and vomiting, the presence of blood in stool, etc.