Morning sickness, skin changes, swollen feet and fingers are just some of the complaints that pregnant women suffer from. There are others who also experience burping, stomach pain, bloating, or gas. Indeed, pregnancy can slow down digestion, causing gas accumulation. This is all natural, but gas problems can cause discomfort. Let us tell you how to get rid of gas during pregnancy.
Causes of gas during pregnancy
Gas problems, also known as gas distension, can cause discomfort to pregnant women, says Dr Pundalik Sonawane, obstetrician and gynecologist, professor and head of department at KJSomaiya Medical College, Mumbai. Although these problems are common, knowing their causes can help you.
1. Hormonal fluctuations
During pregnancy there are significant hormonal changes, the most significant being that of progesterone. These hormones relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, which slows the passage of food through the digestive tract, leading to a buildup of gas.
2. Uterine expansion
As the baby grows, the enlargement of the uterus puts pressure on the stomach and intestines. This can cause digestion to slow down and contribute to gas and bloating.
Hormonal changes and pressure from the growing uterus can contribute to constipation, which can lead to bloating and gas, the expert tells Health Shots.
4. Diet Changes
Pregnancy often leads to changes in diet, including increased consumption of fiber-rich foods, which can produce more gas. Additionally, certain foods like beans, cabbage, and soda are known to cause gas.
5. Air swallowed
Pregnant women may unintentionally swallow more air when eating or drinking, which can contribute to gas and bloating.
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6. Relaxation of the digestive muscles
Hormones that relax the uterine muscles can also relax the muscles in the digestive tract, potentially leading to more gas.
7. Prenatal vitamins
Iron supplements often prescribed during pregnancy can sometimes cause constipation and gas among their side effects.
Tips to get rid of gas during pregnancy
To reduce the discomfort caused by gas during pregnancy, you can do the following:
1. Dietary Changes
Eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overloading the digestive system. Avoid foods known to cause gas. Reduce the consumption of fatty and fried foods, which can slow down digestion. Don’t completely stop eating fiber-rich foods. Gradually increase your fiber intake to help prevent constipation, but do so in moderation.
Pregnant or not, staying hydrated is always a good thing. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help prevent constipation and aid digestion, suggests Dr. Sonawane.
3. Chew food thoroughly
Slow down while eating, chew your food thoroughly and savor its flavors to reduce the amount of air you swallow while eating.
4. Physical activity
Opt for low-impact exercises recommended by your doctor. Activities like walking and prenatal yoga can help support healthy digestion.
Probiotics are known to maintain gut health. Regular consumption of probiotics can promote healthy gut bacteria and aid digestion, says the expert.
Do not lie down immediately after eating. Also try different body positions, such as supporting your upper body with pillows when you sleep to reduce pressure on your digestive organs.
7. Stress reduction
Stress affects your body, including your stomach, in many ways. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or prenatal yoga to help manage stress, which can affect your digestion.
You can also check with your doctor about any medications or supplements that may contribute to gas or bloating. You should also consult your doctor before using antacids or gas medications, as some may not be suitable during pregnancy.