Flatulence in Pregnancyby Shelley Frost
Pregnancy causes lots of changes to the body. Increased flatulence is one potentially unpleasant problem faced by expecting mothers. In addition to flatulence, pregnant women often experience increased belching and bloating associated with gas. Changes to your diet and lifestyle can help ease some of the pregnancy flatulence. Gas-relief medication might also be an option if other methods don't bring you relief.
Slowed digestion during pregnancy causes the increased flatulence and other digestion problems. Pregnancy hormones, particularly progesterone, relax muscles in the body, which contributes to the slowed digestion. Less space in the abdomen as your baby grows also affects digestion.
Certain foods make flatulence worse, whether you're pregnant or not. If you're experiencing uncomfortable flatulence, take a look at your diet for offending foods. Each woman responds differently to foods, so a diet journal is one way to pinpoint the foods that increase your flatulence. Write down everything you eat and drink. To narrow down the dietary causes, note the times when you experience excessive flatulence. Common food causes include beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and foods high in fructose. Watch out for soda and other beverages that are carbonated or contain high-fructose corn syrup, which can also cause flatulence. Food intolerance might also cause flatulence as a reaction. Dairy is a common cause of food intolerance.
Certain habits or behaviors tend to increase flatulence. Pregnancy often drains your energy, but sitting around can make flatulence worse. Exercise stimulates the digestive system to get everything moving, possibly reducing gas. Avoid activities that involve sucking in air, which can add to gas problems. This includes talking while eating, gulping beverages, using straws, smoking and sucking on candy. Eating habits can also affect flatulence. Instead of large portions, schedule more frequent meals that are smaller in size, and eat in an upright position.
Some over-the-counter gas-relief medications are an option if flatulence becomes a problem. Medications with simethicone are generally considered low-risk during pregnancy, according to BabyCenter. Consult with your physician to find a specific medication that is safe to take during your pregnancy.
Flatulence is often accompanied by abdominal pain. If the pain becomes intense or is accompanied by other symptoms, you could be experiencing a medical problem beyond gas. Call your doctor if you experience diarrhea, constipation or blood in your stools along with the flatulence.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images