Since you became pregnant you constantly feel bloated, gassy and plain uncomfortable. You always feel like you have had too much even when you hardly touched anything to eat. You’re guessing right. You are having one of those common, least charming but normal pregnancy symptoms – bloating. You might not be prepared to get used to it, but this symptom is likely to last all the way to delivery date.
What Causes Bloating
Bloating is actually a symptom that pregnant mothers normally have to deal with. It is a condition where there is excess gas in the bowels. You definitely feel stuffed and tend to pass gas more frequently. You will actually start experiencing the condition from around 11 weeks of pregnancy and will mostly continue to your day of delivery. But it is nothing to be alarmed about. You will soon recognize the effects of those pregnancy hormones, including progesterone. Progesterone is that hormone produced during pregnancy to help your body accommodate the new baby. In doing so the hormone causes the muscles of your digestive system to relax, slowing the process of digestion and causing undigested food to remain longer in the system. The longer food remains in your intestines, the more bacteria is produced that causes a buildup of gas
Certain foods are known to cause greater production of gas when they are eaten. Cabbage for example is good in providing vitamins and fiber in the diet. But it is a well-known culprit that when it is broken down in the digestive system, causes you to pass a lot of gas. Cauliflower can be troublesome for you also. But the bigger agents of gas are onions, peas and beans and dairy products. Fatty foods and some carbohydrates such as rice, flour and bread are known causes also because they are slower to move through the digestive system as against whole wheat and more fibrous foods.
Your bloating condition can escalate during the third trimester of pregnancy because of the pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach and digestive system. So as the uterus pushes down on the intestines and the contents in the rectum, you cannot help the spontaneous passing of wind which can be embarrassing when in company.
Things to do to Relieve Bloating
With so much gas in your intestines you are bound to be troubled with bloating, burping and flatulence. You may find yourself passing wind up to 40 times per day. While you may not be able to get rid of the problem entirely, there are several things you can do to relieve the condition.
- Watch what you eat, and drink
Try to identify those foods that make you gassy and avoid them, at least for now. Beans and peas may be deserving foods that are great sources of protein and other nutrients. They are a huge source of fiber also. While you may not want to give them up entirely, eat small portions and have them less frequently. There are some other foods that you can try to avoid such as cabbage, buttery sauces, sugary foods, onions and fried foods. At the same time, try to include other fiber rich foods in your diet to move food through your bowels faster. Other leafy vegetables fit into these types including kale, collard greens and mustard greens. Fruits will do you good also.
Fizzy drinks are nice, refreshing and comforting but they contain a lot of air that will only add extra bloat in your system. In any case they contain a lot of simple sugars that are considered unhealthy and are not necessarily good for your health. Some pregnant women chew gum to relieve the metallic taste that usually comes with pregnancy especially in the first trimester. Chewing gum however causes you to swallow air which will only cause gassy bubbles in your stomach and make bloating worse.
- Eat smaller amounts
You will be better off if you eat several smaller meals per day than three large ones. So instead of the usual large breakfast or lunch, go for a moderate meal then a light snack between meals. Eating smaller and more nutritious meals will help your digestive tract move the food through more efficiently and your system will not feel overloaded at all times.
- Take time to eat
Busy moms are especially guilty of rushing through their meals to get things going. However, this is one of the ways you are not so gracious to your digestive system when pregnant. When you eat too fast you swallow lots of air along with the food, especially so if you talk during the meal. When air gets trapped in your stomach you are bound to feel it welling up in you, creating the bloating and pain you always worry about. Take time to chew and enjoy your meals and talk less.
- Let meal time be break time
Make an effort to relax when eating your meals. Reduce stressful situations at this important time. So don’t be stressing on the phone with another person because having arguments while you eat tends to cause you to speed up, something you don’t even realize. Understand that meal times mean that you should take a break, actually sitting down, relaxing yourself and eating at a pace that your meal can digest properly.
- Start the day right
A good idea is to start your day with a cup of peppermint tea, or some hot water with lemon before you have breakfast. This will help to start moving the old food from yesterday through your system before adding new ones. You can also sip these drinks as you go through the day to reduce bloating. Peppermint is also good for your heartburn.
Exercise is great in many ways to the pregnant woman. One of the many benefits is in how it helps to get food faster through the digestive system. You will have more frequent bowel movements. Therefore find some way of engaging in physical activities that you are comfortable with such as walking, swimming and yoga. In addition to this, you will need to be in control of yourself on occasions when passing wind. So therefore, seek to strengthen those pelvic muscles so wind does not pass through so easily and unexpectedly.
- Make yourself comfortable
Tight pants and shirts around the waist can cause your bloat to feel more uncomfortable. You’ll also want to pull your belly in instinctively. Wear loose clothing that will not press on you tummy and make you feel more uncomfortable.