Gas is never a fun thing to deal with and can honestly be downright embarrassing sometimes! But if you’ve ever been, or have recently become, pregnant, you might have noticed that gas (or flatulence, if you want to be professional about it) seems to increase in correlation with the size of your belly.
If you’ve found yourself belching and passing gas more regularly while pregnant, you’re not imagining things. While gas is a common occurrence, the changes in our bodies during pregnancy can increase the frequency, and while the increase won’t harm or bother the baby, it may bother and even embarrass you! Read on for a few reasons you may notice gas more while pregnant and safe ways to find relief.
Progesterone and Pregnancy
One of the key factors that may be playing a role in your increased gas during these special nine to 10 months is the hormone progesterone, which tends to increase with pregnancy. Progesterone helps the muscles in your body relax, and when your intestinal muscles are more relaxed, digestion can slow down. In fact, pregnancy can increase the time it takes for food to travel through your intestines by 30 percent! And even worse — because your muscles are relaxed, you may also have less control over passing gas.
The slower digestion process can make it easier for gas to build up, which can translate to more belching and flatulence.
Another reason for the gassy buildup? Later on in your pregnancy, when the growing uterus puts pressure on your abdomen, this can also slow digestion down a bit, creating the same increase in gas.
How to Relieve Gas During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, there’s no real method for eliminating gas during pregnancy, but there are a few ways to make it less of an issue. Certain foods like legumes and beans, whole grains, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can increase gas, so if you notice that your gas is really starting to become uncomfortable, it may be time to talk to your doctor about lessening or eliminating some of these foods from your diet for the time being, to see if it makes your life easier. Many of these gas-inducing foods are quite healthy, so be sure to loop in your doctor before deciding to take anything out of your pregnancy diet!
You may also want to consider making it a point to chew your food more thoroughly than usual. This may seem strange, since it’s not all too common to think about how much you’re chewing your food, but a lot of intestinal gas is caused when the large intestine has to work to break down food that hasn’t previously been digested by stomach enzymes. So the smaller the bits of food are that your stomach and intestines have to break down, the less gas you’ll have to deal with!
If you’ve been cleared by your doctor to exercise, that can help, too, as exercise helps to stimulate digestion. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day, too. Drinking lots of water can help prevent constipation.
Lastly, be sure to talk with your doctor to see if there are any medications that are appropriate for you to use to help with gas during pregnancy. They may suggest simethicone, the active ingredient in Gas-X, the #1 Ob/GYN Recommended Gas-Relief brand. (Always check with your doctor before using Gas-X, or any other gas relief product during pregnancy.)