Expecting a baby? Congratulations! How exciting! Perhaps you’ve already started planning the wonderful days ahead with a cute little bundle of joy in your life. And yet, you are not there though. Like everything else in life, it comes with not-so-pretty side of it as well. Alas, Gas! While you walk around as a proud mom-to-be, gas makes you feel embarrassed, unpleasant or even painful sometimes.
When you become pregnant, the level of progesterone increases which makes your intestinal muscles relax in the body. As a result, the digestion cycle slows down. It takes 30% more time for food to move through the intestinal tract when you are pregnant. Therefore there’s more time for gas to build up and you end up feeling more bloated and gassy.
Once you get further along in your pregnancy, the increased pressure from your growing uterus on your abdominal cavity can slow digestion down even more and lead to more gas.
But here’s the good news if you are suffering from excessive flatulence while pregnant. Try these simple 7 tips at home and it will help reduce your discomfort from gas during pregnancy.
1. Keep a food journal and carefully review your diet.
Keeping a food diary can help you analyze the relationship between eating certain foods and having more gas. If you feel you’re experiencing gas on a more than normal basis, keep track of the foods you eat and the volume of gas experienced.
2. Try to eliminate one specific food at a time that seems to be problematic.
Avoid dairy products if you are lactose intolerant. Replace with lactose free milk or calcium fortified soy milk instead. Steer clear of fried and fatty foods and check the following list of foods to be aware of.
Foods that can contribute to gas and bloating; high carbohydrate beverages, artificial sweeteners, sodas, fruit drinks, beans, corn, leeks, onions and scallions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, artichokes, dried fruit, pears, apples, pears, artichokes, honey, corn, potatoes, wheat and oat bran.
3. Eat slowly, more frequently and smaller portions.
The more you eat at one meal, the longer it will sit in your digestive tract and produce more gas. Turn three regular meals a day into five or six smaller meals a day so your body can digest it more easily. Also try to eat slower so you take in less air when you eat. Taking in air makes gas bubbles in your stomach. You may even get uncomfortable abdominal gas pain when it’s coupled with the gas produced in digesting food already.
4. Increase fiber intake and drink lots of water.
Constipation and gas often go hand in hand. Fiber in the diet can help relieve the constipation in pregnancy and help aid digestion. This in turn will help keep gas production, gas pain and bloating to a minimum. Include fiber boosters such as vegetables, prunes, figs, flax meal and whole grains in your diet to help bowel movement.
And drink plenty of water. When you do, drink from a cup or glass, not from a bottle or through a straw to minimize air intake while drinking. It’s recommended to aim for eight to ten of 8-ounce glasses everyday.
5. Exercise and be active.
Exercising after you eat can help food and gas to move through your system. If you sit for a long period of time, the gas will not move and you may get cramping and excess bloating. Not only can exercise help speed up digestion it can also keep you physically fit and emotionally happy. Take a walk around the neighborhood, run the vacuum, walk the dog, or start some pregnancy exercises.
6. Change position often and elevate your legs.
If you find yourself burdened with an uncomfortable bout of gas, sit somewhere that you can elevate your feet. While you’re at it, wear loose, comfortable clothing, and avoid any tightness around your waist and tummy. Try to sit up while you’re eating or drinking. This will help keep the baby high and take the pressure off of your abdomen and let your body digest more freely.
7. Relax and enjoy the process.
Anxiety and stress can increase the amount of air you swallow. Eliminate as much stress from your life as possible. Find some quiet time during the day to take deep breaths and relax, or even reserve a day for a prenatal spa treatment. Remember, your unborn baby can sense your well-being in your womb. And giving birth to a healthy baby is a blessing to both you and your baby.
Finally, gas will not hurt you or your baby and it is only a discomfort while you are pregnant. Even though you may need to eliminate some foods from your diet to control gas, make sure you have an adequate source of the missing nutrients such as iron, calcium, protein and vitamins. And always consult your doctor when in doubt to ensure something more serious isn’t going on.