Gas During Pregnancy
Everyone experiences gas but during pregnancy, it becomes more common. Progesterone (a hormone) levels are increased when pregnant which causes smooth muscles to relax, including the gastrointestinal tract. This slows down digestion, thus leading to gas. A large uterus can cause excess gas because it crowds the stomach and intestines, further slowing digestion.
Prevent constipation (a cause of gas) and maintain healthy bowels:
- Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. Avoid or limit caffeine.
- Eat foods high in fiber, including fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. If you are not use to a high fiber diet, start out slow while your body adapts.
- Exercise regularly (if permitted). The best exercises during pregnancy include a brisk walk, indoor stationary cycling, and swimming.
Avoid unhealthy foods that cause gas, including sugary foods, fried foods, and buttery foods.
Many healthy foods can cause gas but they should not be avoided (limit or don’t overeat). These foods include beans, cabbage, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
To help prevent beans from producing gas, add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to the beans before serving.
Other ways to relieve gas during pregnancy include:
- do not eat large meals (eat small frequent meals)
- chew your food thoroughly and do not chew with your mouth open (no talking)
- do not drink from a straw or bottle and do not gulp your beverages
- do not suck on hard candy or chew gum
- avoid carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners
- do not smoke.
Drinking a cup of ginger tea or chamomile tea after a meal can help digest food.
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of grated ginger root or 1 tablespoon of fresh (or 1 teaspoon of dried) chamomile flowers, cover, steep for about 5-10 minutes, and strain.
Both herbs are safe when relieving gas during pregnancy if taken in reasonable amounts.
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