You will have more gas in general while you are pregnant. The condition is not only manifested through pain in the chest or stomach but also through constant burping, farting and bloating. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable when you’re experiencing more gas than normal and it’s all due to the increase of the hormone, progesterone, which begins in early pregnancy. Gas pains are largely a nuisance that you can alleviate somewhat through diet and exercise.
Causes of Gas Pain During Pregnancy
1. Pregnancy Hormones
Progesterone increases and slows digestion, providing more time for the production of gas. Your body removes the gas with burps and farts. This gas can also lead to a feeling of bloating, especially after a large meal. The muscle-relaxing effect of pregnancy hormones leaves you less able to control the passing of gas.
2. Enlargement of the Uterus
As your uterus enlarges, your intestines are shifted and crowded in your abdomen. This slows digestion even more. Your expanding uterus also pushes on your stomach, which can increase a feeling of bloating.
3. Eating Habits
Everyone experiences gas sometimes when air gets stuck in the digestive track. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), gas pain can be caused by eating or drinking too quickly, chewing gum, drinking carbonated drinks or sucking hard candy. Gas can only escape through burping or farting, and if it remains trapped, bloating and gas pain occur.
4. Certain Foods
Carbohydrates are especially known for causing gas pain during pregnancy, but not everyone is affected by gas-causing food in the same way. Other foods that cause gas include apples, pears, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, milk products, soft drinks and bread.
How to Relieve Gas Pain During Pregnancy
1. Avoid Gassy Foods
Certain foods are more likely to cause gas pain than others, so your diet will affect how much gas you have. Foods that cause gas easily include: cabbage, onions, cauliflower, asparagus, corn, prunes, peaches, whole grain products and oats. While this list seems lengthy, individuals will experience gas differently, so you may find that not all of these foods affect you in the same way.
2. Keep a Food Journal
In order to keep track of the foods that leave you gassy on a regular basis, it may be beneficial to keep a food journal. It takes about hours for your meal to turn into gas. So if you feel particularly gassy, it might not be the snack you just ate; check the meal you had a while ago.
3. Take a Walk
Regardless of how much you try to avoid gas-causing foods, you will likely experience gas at some point. One great way to get rid of gas is to take a walk after a meal. Sitting still after eating will allow gas to stay in your intestines and cause bloating and pain. Consider taking a walk, washing the dishes or walking the dog to alleviate gas pains.
4. Elevate Your Legs
Putting your feet up is a quick way to take pressure off of your abdomen and relieve painful gas and bloating. Doing so will redistribute the pressure of the baby and allow for easier digestion. Another related tip is trying not to wear tight fitting clothes. Even some maternity pants can be tight, which restricts digestion and can cause gas pain during pregnancy.
5. Eat Smaller Portions
This should certainly not be interpreted as eating less calories or food throughout the day, but breaking your three main meals up into several smaller meals. Smaller meals allow your digestive system to stay caught up, especially during a time when there are already many other pressures slowing down digestion.
When to See a Doctor
Although they may be uncomfortable, you may need to worry about gas pain only if you are feeling severe lower abdominal pains. If the pains begin coming and going on a regular basis, you may be experiencing contractions. Watch for the following symptoms as they may indicate a more serious situation than just gas pain and indigestion:
- Bloating with one-sided abdominal pain
- Bloated feeling accompanied with severe diarrhea and stomach cramps
- Excessive gas and bloating along with constipation, vomiting and bloody stools
What Other Moms Say About Gas Pain During Pregnancy
I was struggling with major gas pains for quite a few weeks. Try eating small meals throughout the day. Avoid things that are hard to digest, like corn and some really starchy foods. Also, I find some relief drinking hot ginger teas.
I’ve found that eating too many carbs too quickly (especially bread) aggravates it, and so does too much dairy and sugar. I’m trying to stick to drinking things without a lot of sugar in them, less bread and dairy and eating more fiber.
For me, the occasional Dulcolax and eating prunes have helped a lot.