- Gas Causes
- Causes While Pregnant
- When to See a Doctor
What causes gas?
Having gas during pregnancy is a normal and common thing, but sometimes, it may cause you discomfort and pain. The pain may be significantly more when you are pregnant. This is due to your growing uterus and the extra gas you produce during pregnancy. Lying in some positions and avoiding some types of foods may help you prevent or get rid of gas pains while pregnant.
As mentioned earlier, having gas while pregnant is normal. A lot of the gas in your digestive system comes from swallowing air. It's also a natural byproduct of the food you digest. Since it can’t stay in your body, it comes out through your mouth (burping) or your rectum (farting) depending on where it was formed.
When this gas gets trapped in your gastrointestinal system, you become bloated or feel pain. A common cause for bloating is constipation and pressure. Sometimes the food you eat may be causing flatulence, especially when consumed in large amounts. But this does not mean that they are harmful to your health, in fact, they may be good for you.
Some foods that may cause gas include:
- Fibrous vegetables
- Brussel sprouts
- Whole wheat and bran
What causes gas pains while you are pregnant?
When you get pregnant, you may find that you get more gas and bloating than normal. The reason for this may be:
- The food you eat
- Progesterone hormone
- Lack of physical activity
Progesterone hormone plays a vital role in pregnancy to maintain a healthy pregnancy. With your first and second trimester pregnancy, your body produces much higher progesterone than normal. It makes your body muscles relax, including your intestinal muscles. When intestinal muscles relax, food takes more time to move. This causes more gas to be produced, thus even more pain.
Food slows down due to the slower digestion caused by intestinal muscle relaxation. Your intestinal motility may reduce by up to 30%. The longer your food stays in digestion, the more gas is created. The relaxation of muscles in your early pregnancy also makes it harder for your body to control how you release gas.
The food you eat may also cause gassing while you are pregnant. The foods listed earlier are usually harder for your body to digest. Since these fibrous foods are harder to digest, the bacteria in your gut spend more time trying to break it down. As a result, they produce more gas which leads to bloating and pain.
Lack of physical activity
Physical movement usually helps in the process of digestion. This means that when you don’t engage in physical activity the rate of digestion goes down, leading to more gas. The buildup of gasses then causes pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of gas during pregnancy
Some symptoms that may indicate you have gas include:
Treatment for gas pain during pregnancy
You may experience a lot of gas pain while pregnant due to the extra gas you produce during pregnancy, and your growing uterus. The increasingly growing uterus puts pressure on your organs, bones, and intestines. When gas builds up and tries to move through your intestines, it causes you pain and the feeling of pressure around your belly.
When you feel gas pain, consider doing the following to reduce it:
- Lie down on your back with a leg raised. Lying down on your back and raising one of your knees may help you pass some of the gas that’s causing you pain.
- Lie down on your side. If lying on your back is too painful, try lying on your side and then do some deep and slow breathing. This enhances efficient digestion and movement in your gut. It may also help you pass the painful gas more easily and relieve bloating.
- Put on clothes loose enough not to press on your belly. This may help avoid adding pressure on your belly.
- Avoid smoking or chewing gum. Chewing and smoking brings air into your stomach. This only increases gassiness.
- Reduce stress. If you are going through stress, you may be holding back some gas that’s meant to be released from your body. This is because your intestinal muscles open when your body is relaxed. You may get bloated due to stress while pregnant. Consider taking yoga classes, meditation,or make a journal of the things that cause you stress.
How to prevent gas pains while pregnant
There are a few things you can do to try and prevent getting gas pain and bloating.
- Reduce the number of carbonated drinks you drink
- Try to avoid fried foods
- Avoid using straws when drinking
- Try taking smaller, more frequent meals throughout your day
- Wear loose clothing, especially over the waist
- Increase your physical activity with low-impact exercises (like walking and swimming)
- Drink adequate water
- Eat slowly
- Try to keep off artificial sweeteners
- Take gas medication prescribed by a doctor
When to see a doctor
Sometimes, if nothing you do seems to work, your gas and abdominal pain may mean that something else is going on. If you experience the following things it might be time to see your doctor.
- If pain doesn’t stop or keeps increasing
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Bloody stool
- Severe constipation
- If you start getting contractions
Sometimes, gassiness and bloating while pregnant might be symptoms of another medical condition. Conditions that may present the same way as gassiness and constipation during pregnancy include:
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