It’s one of those unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy – wind – and let’s be blunt here, we’re talking burping, farting and bloating. Gas during pregnancy is not pleasant no matter how you look at it.
And it always tends to happen at the most inopportune moments.
I remember a poor pregnant mama leaving kindergarten one day, and she farted on her way down the stairs.
I felt embarrassed for her, but just didn’t know what to say (so I did the whole ‘pretend nothing happened’ thing!).
It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable when you’re experiencing more gas production than normal and it’s all due to the increase of the hormone, progesterone, which begins in early pregnancy.
Progesterone (as well as relaxin) relaxes the smooth muscle tissue throughout your body. Unfortunately, not even your digestive tract is left unscathed! This slows down food digestion which results in more gas being created in the large intestine, as a result of food that is not fully digested by enzymes.
How can I help relieve gas during pregnancy?
Here is a list of ideas which may help you get some relief from the pain and amount of gas you are experiencing.
- Eat regularly, but choose several small meals throughout the day rather than less frequent, larger meals
- Eat and chew slowly and avoid talking or gulping while you’re eating
- Choose to drink between meals instead of during meals, and when you do have a drink, drink from a glass (without gulping) as opposed to a bottle or a straw
- Avoid fizzy/carbonated drinks
- Put your legs up to relieve pressure from your abdomen in order to assist digestion
- Sit upright while you’re eating or drinking
- Avoid wearing any tight clothing or belts, choose comfortable and loose clothing
- Avoid chewing gum or sucking on hard lollies
- Avoid artificially sweetened products and drinks (often in diet drinks)
- Exercise can help – try a brisk walk around the block after a meal for around 20 minutes or so
- Peppermint tea is safe to take and may provide relief
- If you have a tendency to be anxious or tense, learn some relaxation techniques or take up a activity like pilates (which is also good for core strength) or yoga.
- See your naturopath for some quality prebiotics and probiotics, to make sure your gut is as healthy as possible
Slower digestion can also result in constipation, so it’s a good idea to prevent this from happening. You can avoid constipation by increasing fibre intake slowly and drinking more water. Plenty of fresh fruits and veggies help too. Some fibre supplements can be used during pregnancy if you need extra help, but speak to your doctor, midwife or pharmacist first.
Foods to avoid if you have gas
Some foods are known for making you more windy, so see if you can find out which of these may be causing problems for you or start a process of elimination – you might like to keep a food journal in order to spot the culprit(s). The sugar fructose is found in some of the below and something to be avoided:
- Beans & other legumes
- Brussel Sprouts
- Milk or cheese
Fatty and fried foods can slow down digestion, so try and avoid it as best you can.
Will the extra gas affect baby?
The gas production won’t harm your baby, but if you notice any intense pain or cramping, check with your doctor or midwife.