No matter how you slice it, gas during pregnancy is embarrassing and probably a little unexpected. What can you do to avoid it?
Suffering from pregnancy gas? You are not alone! When Leslie Irish Evans was in the late stages of her first pregnancy, she woke up one peaceful morning and was just lying there enjoying the calm … then it happened. “Suddenly, I farted really loud. So loud…I woke the baby! She jumped in my belly then started thrashing around. Made both me and my husband laugh,” says Leslie.
For Ann B., her gassy moment came in front of her toddler. “During the ninth month of my second pregnancy I was picking up spilled cheerios from the floor with my 2-year-old son. While crawling around the floor on my hands and knees, I passed gas loud enough for him to hear. He turned to me and said very matter-of-factly in his sweet 2-year-old voice, ‘You, dirty diaper?'” she recalls.
Sometimes gas isn’t so funny — particularly when the embarrassing moment strikes during a meeting, interview or in another serious setting. In fact, sometimes painful gas can even make you feel like you must be in labor … because it’s that painful and rolling.
But fear not, excess gas during pregnancy is normal and can be averted, experts say.
What’s causing it?
During pregnancy your digestion slows down, says Dr Marc Lewis, an ObGyn with the Henry Ford Health System in Dearborn, Michigan, leaving food to languish in your intensines longer. “There are normal bacteria that live in the GI (gastrointestinal), tract whose function is to digest food and break it down for absorption. This process produces “gas” as the by-product of digestion. The longer food sits in the GI tract, the more gas is produced, thus increased bloating,” Lewis told Pregnancy and Baby. “In addition, as pregnancy progresses, the stomach and intestines are displaced by the enlarging uterus which can increase the feeling of fullness and bloating.”
Adjust your diet
Believe it or not, your diet could be contributing to your gassy problem and correcting it can be as simple as choosing the right foods. Certified holistic health counselor Latham Thomas suggests eating smaller meals and chewing slowly, and of course selecting foods that won’t create gas. “Avoiding foods that contain sulfur including, like cauliflower, cabbage, onions. These foods cause gases to form while being digested and the pressure results in odorous gas and discomfort in the mother. They can also cause heartburn later in [second to third] trimesters,” says Thomas.
She also suggests having some fennel seeds after meals. “Fennel is helpful in stimulating proper digestion and is a galactagogue as well, meaning it helps to stimulate milk flow in lactating moms,” says Thomas.
If you are someone who bends forward while eating or for bath times of other kids, you might want to stop. Some moms say that the action of leaning forward can crowd your already crowded internal organs causing discomfort. “I’ve found that the positions in which I sit can have a large influence. Leaning forward for more than a minute or so—say, when you’re bathing your toddler or eating at a table—seems to cramp those already squished organs even further, and I start getting gas pains after a short while. When I consciously make myself recline a bit or sit more upright, it doesn’t happen,” says mother of one and mom to be Melissa James.
James also suggests avoiding too-tight waistbands as they can make the gas more pronounced as well.
Medications for gas
There are a few medications on the market to treat gas, but always check with your doctor before taking medications to ensure you choose one that is safe for your baby.