Gas is a common (and potentially embarrassing) symptom of pregnancy. People normally pass gas a dozen or so times a day. But when you’re pregnant, you may belch or pass gas much more often. Or in some instances, you might find yourself unbuttoning your pants to relieve bloating even weeks before you begin to show. The main reason your body makes more gas during pregnancy is that your body produces more progesterone to support your pregnancy. Progesterone relaxes muscles throughout your body, including your digestive tract. These relaxed muscles slow down digestion which can lead to gas, bloating, burping, flatulence, and generally create uncomfortable sensations in your gut, especially after a big meal.
Once you move further along into your pregnancy, your growing uterus crowds your abdominal cavity, which slows down digestion and pushes on your stomach, making you feel even more bloated after eating. Some foods can also contribute to gas, and your prenatal vitamins (especially the iron component) can cause constipation, leading, you guessed it, to even more gas.
Can I relieve gas by changing my diet?
Yes. Cutting back on the foods that are most likely to cause gas is usually the most effective way to reduce it. But eliminating everything that might cause gas would make it hard to eat a balanced diet. Start by cutting out foods that are most likely to cause gas and bloating. If that gives you relief, begin adding those foods back into your diet one by one to try to pinpoint what’s causing the problem.
Some of the foods most often linked to intestinal gas include Beans, whole grains, and certain vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus. These all contain sugar raffinose, which makes a lot of people gassy. Carbonated drinks, high fat and fried foods, and certain starches such as wheat, but not rice, also cause gas.
- Don’t eat big meals. Instead, eat several small meals throughout the day.
- Take your time and chew thoroughly
- Drink from a cup or glass not from a bottle or through a straw and don’t gulp.
- Don’t drink carbonated beverages.
- Don’t drink anything sweetened with the artificial sweetener sorbitol.
- Don’t chew gum or suck on hard candies.
- Sit up while you’re eating or drinking, even if you’re just having a small snack.
- Get moving. Even a brisk walk can help a sluggish digestive tract.
- Prevent or treat constipation because it can add to flatulence and a feeling of abdominal bloating.
If these tips don’t help, consult your healthcare provider. (Don’t take activated charcoal tablets without first checking with your healthcare provider because they may not be safe during pregnancy.)