When you are pregnant, you are likely to experience uncomfortable bloating and gas. This is due to the hormone progesterone, which causes your gastrointestinal tract to relax and slow down digestion.
“When digestion slows, this gives the nutrients from the food you eat more time to reach your growing baby,” says Jessica H. Lemmons, MD, FACOG, obstetrician and gynecologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “However, it can cause all sorts of digestive problems for you.”
So how do you combat bloating and gas during pregnancy? Here are a few tips:
Watch what you eat. Stay away from artificial sweeteners and foods that can cause gas, such as beans, cabbage, pears, apples, prunes, peaches, ice cream, cheese and carbonated drinks.
Keep a food diary. If you feel like the list of foods that can cause gas and bloating is too long, try making your own list. Record every food you eat and the symptoms you feel. After a few days, look for a pattern and plan your diet accordingly.
Eat several small meals throughout the day. “For a pregnant woman, gone are the days of three balanced meals each day,” says Lemmons. “Large meals can overload your digestive system, so plan for small amounts.”
Exercise. Sometimes it seems as though exercise is the solution for everything. When you start moving, the gas works its way out of your body so you no longer have a feeling of fullness.
Slow down when you eat. When you eat too quickly, you swallow air which can contribute to gas and bloating.
Drink lots of water. Water can flush out your system and prevent bloating and swelling.
It is best to establish these practices early in your pregnancy. As your uterus grows, so does your propensity toward gas and bloating.
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