It’s hard to see the glow of pregnancy when you’re doubled over with gas pain. In one of my previous pregnancies I had severe side pain for several days. The first thing they checked to see was if it was gas. At the time, I laughed. “Gas?” I thought, “Yeah, right. This hurts far too much to be some stupid gas.” It wasn’t either, but my third pregnancy has now rightly corrected my perspective on the powers of gas pain. It can sort of feel like you’re dying. There’s this powerful pressure and stabbing pain someplace deep within your guts, and then it passes, and you’re faced with undeniable evidence of what the problem was.
What causes gas and increased flatulence during pregnancy?
Gas pain also comes with increased flatulence, and even more burping. Even in early pregnancy the body begins to release to a hormone called progesterone, and later in your pregnancy, relaxing joins the game. Both hormones work to relax smooth muscle throughout the body, a process necessary to labor and delivery. Sadly, guess what type of muscle your intestinal tract is made of? As a result digestion is slowed and constipation and gas are the byproduct. Depending on how big your belly fruit has grown, it’s also possible your baby is hogging space in your abdominal cavity and stomach region, leading to even slower digestion. Yep, if you’re in the early stages, bad news, the gas can get worse.
What can you do about gas during pregnancy?
-Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Gas itself is often caused by undigested food reaching the intestinal tract. Bigger meals lead to more undigested food, smaller meals lead to less, and so, less gas.
-Wear loose clothing. Anything that bands tightly around the abdomen can restrict blood flow and slow digestion even more. You may find positions that help blood flow abdomen help, such as sitting with your legs elevated.
-Try a warm bath. Sitting in a warm tub actually tends to take blood away from the core, moving it to the extremities, but I know many pregnant women that swear by a warm bathe to release painful gas. Granted farting in your own bath water sounds gross, but you can always stand up and shower off afterwards.
-Get up and move. When your guts feel like they’ll explode your natural instinct may be to curl up in a ball, but movement actually aids in digestion. A painful walk may help.
–Don’t swallow air-you’re supposed to breathe it silly. Things like straws, chewing gum, and eating quickly can lead to swallowing more air than usual. Swallowed air is a secondary cause of gas.
–Keep a food diary. Chances are you’ll find certain foods set off your gas. If you’re suffering frequently, keep a food diary and note the times of your pain or flatulence. Then look for common themes in your diet that are triggers. While many people assume foods like beans that are high in protein are often the culprit, it really depends on your body. Some people are set off by high protein, others diary, and others processed sugars. Anything can cause gas. It may be tricky to nail down the causes, but once you do eliminating them obviously helps.
-Medications: Most doctors feel Simethicone, an over the counter gas relief medication found in names such as “Gas-X” is safe during pregnancy. It should, however, be noted that no real testing has been done. There is just no logical reason it would harm a baby.
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