The increase in pregnancy hormones can relax the muscles throughout the body, including muscles in your digestive tract. This results to the slowing down of the digestive processes. This means that the bacteria in your tract have more time to work on the undigested food before elimination. With this extra working time, there is more fermentation, leading to more gas. Aside from the excessive hormone production during pregnancy, constipation can also slow down the bowel functions, making you feel more bloated and gassy.
Gas during pregnancy can cause excruciating pain in the abdomen. The pain may stay in one area on your abdomen or travel to different parts like your back, chest or belly. It has been established that women experience more gas during pregnancy because of the increased production of progesterone. Progesterone will cause the intestinal muscles to relax. This allows the waste to stay longer inside the colon, resulting to the development of more gas.
What Can You Do When You Experience Gas During Pregnancy?
While having gas during pregnancy is considered normal and this is often associated with abdominal pain, there are a number of ways that can help you prevent this from occurring. If you are having abdominal pain due to gas in pregnancy, you should consider doing lifestyle changes. Here are some ways on coping with gas during pregnancy.
- Try Small Frequent Feedings Throughout the Day. If you want to relieve this pregnancy symptom, you should consider eating several small meals throughout the day.
- Keep Yourself Hydrated All the Time. It is important to make sure to keep yourself hydrated all the time. Keeping yourself hydrated will help alleviate gas during pregnancy.
- Adhere to a Pregnancy Appropriate Exercise Routine. If you want to relieve this pregnancy symptom, you should get moving and be active. To prevent gas from becoming excessive during pregnancy, you should consider adhering to a pregnancy appropriate exercise routine, as this can help with your digestion.
- Watch What You Eat and Avoid Gas Forming Foods. Aside from exercising, you should consider watching what you eat. You may want to make a list of the foods that can trigger gas and make sure that you avoid them. Gas can be triggered when you eat fried as well as greasy foods. Moreover, this can also be triggered when you cabbage, beans and sweet potatoes.
- Watch What You Drink and Avoid Carbonated Drinks. You should also avoid carbonated drinks as they can also trigger and exacerbate gas during pregnancy. In addition, if drinking milk can cause gas, you can dry drinking it ice cold instead of warm.
Gas and Other Reasons Why You Experience Benign Abdominal Pain during Pregnancy
There are a lot of pregnant women who may right off their abdominal pain during pregnancy as gas. However, gas is not the only reason that can trigger abdominal pain during pregnancy. Here are some reasons that can trigger benign abdominal pain during pregnancy:
- Round Ligament Pain. Abdominal pain during pregnancy may be associated with round ligament pain. There are two large round ligaments found in your abdomen and they run from the uterus through the groin. The ligaments support the uterus. As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby, the ligaments that support it also expand, resulting to a sharp or perhaps dull pain occurring in the abdomen, groin or hips. This type of pain may be felt when you shift your position or when you cough or sneeze. Daily stretching is ideal to reduce this type of pain felt during pregnancy.
- Constipation is considered a common complaint of many pregnant women. This symptom can be caused by pregnancy hormones, low fiber diet, dehydration, lack of exercise and general anxiety. Constipation may cause severe pain that is characterized to be sharp and stabbing type of pain. To relieve the pain associated with constipation, you should consider increasing the fiber in your diet as well as your fluid intake.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions. This is also known as false contractions. This type of contractions occurs when the muscles in the uterus contract for two minutes or less. The contractions are described as unpredictable as well as irregular. This type of contraction can cause pain in the abdomen as well as uncomfortable pressure. Despite this, Braxton Hicks contractions are considered a normal part of pregnancy. This type of contractions occurs in the third trimester. However, this does not get worse or occur more frequent.
When Should You Consult Your Health Care Provider?
While abdominal pain during pregnancy is normal and is most commonly caused by gas, you should be mindful of the other symptoms that may accompany the pain. Since gas and abdominal pain is not unusual during pregnancy, it can be a challenge to determine which pain is already considered a serious one and warrants a trip to your doctor. It is important to know what type of pain is considered normal and when you should call your health care provider.
If you feel pain on the right upper quadrant of your abdomen and you are experiencing other symptoms like headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision and high blood pressure at the same time, you should seek medical consult right away, as you may be having a life threatening complication of pregnancy. The pain and the other symptoms are associated with HELLP Syndrome, which is a pregnancy complication. If not treated right away, this complication can cause death.
Abdominal pain during pregnancy can also signal other complications like a miscarriage, placenta abruption, preeclampsia and ectopic pregnancy. These conditions require immediate medical attention. In addition, abdominal pain may also signal conditions that are not directly related to pregnancy like urinary tract infections, kidney stones, appendicitis, gallstones, and bowel obstruction. Thus, it is important to take note of the pain and seek medical help when necessary.