Gas During Pregnancy? Tips for Finding Relief

You're pregnant, you've got gas, and you want relief! Although you may not be able to rid yourself of the symptoms completely, there are several tips that can help with this common (and sometimes embarrassing) problem. Options range from eliminating offending foods to eating smaller meals to trying certain medications. If nothing is helping, you may want to consult your doctor.

Gas During Pregnancy

Now that you're pregnant, your body is going through rapid changes, and you likely have the symptoms to prove it. From nausea and vomiting to constipation, it may seem like your gastrointestinal (GI) system won't settle down. Unfortunately, one of the common GI-related complaints of pregnant women is gas.
Gas is probably one of the more embarrassing consequences of being pregnant. It can also be quite distressing. Gassiness often goes hand in hand with uncomfortable bloating, pain, belching, and passing gas (what healthcare providers call "flatulence"). Although it's not glamorous to talk about gas, it needs to be done. Why? Because by learning the causes of gas, you're better equipped to develop strategies that may help reduce gas and relieve your discomfort.

Why Does Pregnancy Cause Increased Gas?

Gas is introduced into the body in two ways. One is by swallowing air. The other is when bacteria in the large intestines break down food that wasn't completely digested in the stomach and small intestines. Everyone has gas to some extent. But during pregnancy, many women find they have more gas and bloating than normal.
There are a few different reasons you may experience gas and bloating during pregnancy. From early on, the high level of hormones in your body, particularly progesterone, relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract. This slows down digestion, giving your intestines more time to create gas from the foods you eat. It can also lead to bloating, which is that feeling of fullness you get in your belly, especially after you eat a big meal.
Later in pregnancy, as your uterus grows, it pushes on your stomach and intestines. This further slows things down, creating more gas and bloating. To make matters worse, you don't have the same control over your GI system during pregnancy, which means you may not be able to hold in gas as well, leading to some embarrassing situations.
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