One unpleasant but very common side effect of pregnancy is gas. The extra gas a pregnant woman experiences is caused by the additional progesterone hormone being produced in her body. Progesterone plays an important role in keeping a woman’s body, including the uterus, healthy during pregnancy. However, the hormone also causes food to digest more slowly, which results in a buildup of gas in the intestines. As a woman gets further along in her pregnancy, the baby also begins to press on her stomach, which exacerbates the gas problem.
Foods That Can Make Gas Worse during Pregnancy
Some foods can make gas worse during pregnancy. Some vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and fiber-rich and starchy foods can create more gas. Foods and beverages that might cause flatulence in pregnant women include:
- beans (legumes)
- carbonated drinks
Other Tips to Reduce Pregnancy Gas
There are a variety of other things pregnant women have found to be helpful for reducing gas. In addition to cutting out certain foods from the diet, a woman can keep a food journal. In the diary, a woman should log foods she eats and negative effects she experiences from them, such as flatulence, within several hours of eating.
The way a pregnant woman consumes food can also play a role in gas production. Eating quickly, chewing gum, or sucking on hard candy can result in more gas since a woman sometimes swallows air in the process. Drinking through a straw or from a bottle can cause a woman to swallow air as well. Be sure to sit up straight while eating as slouching can lead to more gas production. Breaking three meals into six to eight smaller meals spaced throughout the day can help reduce the amount of gas some pregnant women experience.
Finally, doing mild exercise after eating can help with pregnancy gassiness. Consider going for a walk or doing light yoga. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes. Clothes that are tight compress the stomach, making gas and bloating worse.
Warning: A pregnant woman should not take an over-the-counter gas remedy unless she first clears it with her doctor. Some medications can harm the unborn baby.
Gas during Pregnancy Is Not Worrisome
Gas is a normal side effect of pregnancy. Pregnant women are naturally gassy. It is usually nothing to worry about. A pregnant woman can try various tips and advice for reducing gas, such as identifying and avoiding foods that give her gas, eating smaller meals, and doing low-impact exercise.