Bloating during Pregnancy

by Carol Gomes


At times, the list constituting the effects a pregnancy has on the human body may seem never ending. In addition to weight gain, heartburn, and nausea, many women also complain of bloating and gas during the nine months of pregnancy. Bloating refers to a condition where the body seems to swell up and causes a lot of discomfort. This is a common complaint especially during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Causes of Bloating during Pregnancy

As soon as conception occurs, levels of progesterone begin to increase in the body. While progesterone is essential for the proper growth and development of the fetus, it also causes the smooth muscle tissues in the body to relax. When the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract relax, digestion slows down to allow for the proper absorption of nutrients by the baby. On the flip side, slow digestion makes you feel fuller for longer and leads to uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, burping and gas. As your pregnancy progresses, the uterus also increases in size and begins to press down on the stomach and the intestines. This can lead to digestive problems and make you feel more bloated after eating. During the third trimester, many women complain of bloating caused by water retention. This symptom worsens during the hot summer months or if your surroundings are humid. Rising hormone levels cause you to retain more water than you normally would thus resulting in bloating and discomfort.

Treatments

The best way to treat bloating during pregnancy is to eat right. Try to include several small meals during the day instead of three heavy ones and chew your food properly. This will help lessen the load on the digestive system and reduce the chances of bloating and gas. Other ways to lessen bloating during pregnancy include:

Drinking plenty of water to encourage proper bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Avoid gas-producing foods such as cabbage, cauliflowers, fried foods, beans, onions, dried fruits, apples, honey, and dairy products. Keep a food diary to help you see the connection between your symptoms and eating certain foods.

Avoid drinking sweetened fruit juices and carbonated beverages as these contain high fructose corn syrup that can aggravate bloating as well.

Remove all processed, canned, ready-to-eat and junk food from your diet.

Foods that contain artificial sweeteners may also produce gas and bloating.

If you were slightly lactose intolerant before your pregnancy, the condition may worsen during pregnancy and cause severe abdominal pain and gas. Speak to your doctor about alternatives to dairy to ensure that you meet your daily requirement of calcium.

You must exercise regularly to prevent sluggish digestion.

Stress and anxiety can add to bloating. Try stress-reducing techniques such as yoga and meditation to learn to relax and breathe properly.

If water retention is causing your bloating, try and take small rest breaks during the day where you can elevate your feet and improve circulation.

Avoid wearing tight clothes that restrict the blood flow and increase water retention.

Avoid taking any diuretic drugs to reduce bloating especially during the first months of pregnancy. Instead increase your intake of foods with natural diuretic properties to help relieve bloating. These include celery, parsley, anise, herbal teas, and peppermint.

Some effective home remedies for bloating include:

  • Chew cardamom seeds to cure bloating naturally.
  • Mix a tablespoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of hot water and honey. Drink this concoction to reduce bloating.
  • Add a teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds to a cup of hot water. Strain and drink this tea to reduce gas and bloating.
  • A teaspoon of fresh ginger juice and honey is an excellent home remedy for bloating.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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