10 Effective Home Remedies for Gas During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is not all about that radiant glow on your face or that adorable baby bump which invites good wishes and excitement from your friends and family members. Common problems like flatulence or gas can make everyday life uncomfortable for you too. And there is a good reason for this. When you are expecting, the progesterone hormone level shoots up in your body to support your wellbeing as well as your baby's. But, it also causes your muscles to relax, including those present in your intestines. So, naturally, your digestive system slows down and gas builds up. The good news is that, there are several home remedies that can help you manage gas, flatulence and burping.
Cause of gas during pregnancy
Progesterone is the real culprit for the excessive gas produced during pregnancy. As more progesterone is produced in the body to support pregnancy, it relaxes the muscles of your intestines along with other muscles. Slower moving intestinal muscles, in turn, slow down digestion. This leads to the build-up of gas, resulting in bloating, burping and flatulence.
As pregnancy progresses, your growing uterus increases pressure on your abdomen, thus slowing down digestion and leading to more gas. There are also certain foods and even some prenatal vitamins that cause constipation, which in turn causes gas. This uncomfortable and painful situation occurs mostly due to constipation and usually worsens as the pregnancy progresses.
Here are some natural remedies to relieve gas during pregnancy:
- Hydrate yourself: Aim to drink at least two to three litres of water daily. Consuming other fluids is helpful as well. Drinking water before or after a meal helps in digestion, thus avoiding build-up of gas. Drink it slowly in sips as gulping water down makes you swallow more air that can contribute to more gas.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: If you are experiencing extreme bloating and pain, it might be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. In that case, make sure that the juices you drink don’t contain certain gases and sugars that increase bloating. Such drinks are called FODMAP and include cranberry, grape, pineapple and orange juice.
- Avoid aerated drinks: Avoid drinking colas and other fizzy drinks loaded with carbon dioxide as it causes flatulence. The added sugars and artificial sweeteners in the drinks can add to the problem and lead to excess weight gain.
- Be physically active: Exercise should be an essential part of your daily routine. Even if you do not hit the gym, make sure you go on a long brisk walk. Any physical activity should last at least thirty minutes. This will help prevent constipation and enhance digestion, along with keeping you physically and mentally fit. Do consult your doctor before you start a new exercise routine.
- Test your diet: Try to identify the potential triggers for gas in your diet and eliminate them one by one until your symptoms improve. Some common trigger foods are sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, wheat and potatoes. These high-fibre foods contain oligosaccharides that produce nitrogen gas when they break down in the gut, which causes bloating.
- Avoid triggering foods: Fructose is a kind of sugar that some people find tough to digest. It can ferment in the large intestine, causing gas and bloating. Similarly, our body does not digest sorbitol which causes abdominal pain, bloating and gas. Maintain a food diary that will show you which foods trigger severe symptoms of gas in you.
A quick note - If you are a pregnant woman with IBS, make sure you contact your doctor before you start following a FODMAP diet as it is very restrictive and you might end up not getting adequate nutrition.
- Load up on fibre: This is one of the best home remedies for gas in pregnancy. Fibre absorbs water, and this helps in softening the stools, which allows them to pass more easily. Having 25 to 40 grams of fibre daily will help you manage the symptoms. Foods like prunes, figs, bananas, vegetables and whole grains like oats and flax meal are rich sources of fibre.
- Fibre supplements: If you are unable to consume the recommended amount of fibre naturally, then you can take a supplement after proper consultation with a doctor.
- Stool softeners: Gentle stool softeners help moisten the stool and allow it to move more smoothly. Do not use any stimulant laxatives as it may cause problems in pregnancy. Always consult a doctor or dietician before choosing a stool softener.
- De-stress: Stress and anxiety can increase your breathing rate. The higher the amount of air you take, the greater the chance of abdominal gas, bloating and belching. Ask for help to finish your chores. Do some deep breathing and relax.
If you have severe pain for more than half an hour and constipation for more than a week even after trying home remedies for gas in pregnancy, be sure to call your doctor.