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Gas in Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Did you Know Flatulence is Common in Pregnancy

Did you know that gas in pregnancy is one of the most embarrassing normal pregnancy symptoms.

Having gas is a universal phenomenon, and believe it or not but it's estimated that the average person will pass gas between 14 and 23 times every day. You produce up to 4 pints of gas daily. This doesn't change when you get pregnant. In fact, pregnant women tend to produce more gas.

Unfortunately, this gas during pregnancy isn't limited to the occasional burp. Flatulence is actually pretty common, and it's due to the hormones relaxin and progesterone relaxing all the muscles in your body, including the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract. As a result, your digestive processes slow down, and you will experience more gas, flatulence, and bloating.

Gas in pregnancy isn't fun. It's actually one of the most embarrassing pregnancy symptoms, especially since most pregnant women can't hold in their gas. Sometimes, it comes out as a loud burp at the most unfortunate time. Though you cannot prevent gas in pregnancy, you can reduce this symptom by changing your diet slightly.

For one, you may want to avoid any foods that trigger gas and flatulence, such as fried foods, soda, broccoli, beans, and cabbage. Some women also find that they are less able to tolerate dairy products too. Food triggers of gas are different for every woman, but you can easily figure out what makes you gassy. Keeping a food diary to keep track of gas may help you out.

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How to Cope with Gas in Pregnancy

In addition to dietary changes, there are a number of ways that you can lessen the severity of your gas, as well as decreasing the frequency of passing gas. Consider making the following changes to cope with gas in pregnancy:

  • Stay away from carbonated sodas and other drinks. It's always best to stick with water. Keep in mind that you should drink from a cup or a glass. Forgo the straw – straws cause you to swallow too much air, which only adds to your gassiness.

  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Don't just have your three big meals, but remember to snack throughout the day. When you're eating, remember to chew your food thoroughly, and don't talk when you're having your meals. (This may introduce too much air into your body).

  • No matter if you are eating or drinking, make sure that you sit up.

  • During pregnancy, it's a good rule of thumb to wear comfortable clothing throughout the day. Don't wear any tight outfits, especially those that compress around your belly or waist.

  • Exercise during the week. Moderate exercise can improve digestion, and it may decrease gas in pregnancy.

  • Try to relax. Learn relaxation techniques, or take a yoga class. When you're stressed out, you're more likely to swallow air.
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