Bloating And Gas During Pregnancy
Your belching would make a long-time beer slugger blush and you can't stand to have the button on your pants fastened, even though your baby-bump hasn't even made an appearance. What's going on? In fact, everyone-pregnant or not-produces between one and three pints of gas every day and passes gas about 14 times a day. However, when a woman becomes pregnant, her gas production tends to increase.
Feeling Like You Could Fuel Several Vehicles?
The primary cause of the surge in gas production is the increased levels of progesterone during pregnancy. This hormone relaxes smooth muscle tissue in the body, and that includes the gastrointestinal tract. The relaxation slows the digestive processes, which leads to gas, bloating, burping and flatulence along with the uncomfortable feelings in the gut after a big meal.
As the uterus grows with the growing baby, the pressure in the abdominal cavity increases and further slows the digestive process. It pushes on the stomach as well, and the combination will make you feel even more bloated and uncomfortable after eating. Heartburn and constipation can happen, even if you've never been subject to them before.
What Happens In The Body To Produce Gas
Gas gets caught in the digestive tract in two ways: when you swallow air and when food is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. Typically, most stomach gas comes from swallowing air and is most frequently released by burping. Flatulence is the result of gas produced in the colon as food which was not broken down by stomach enzymes is broken down by bacteria instead. Proteins and fat don't produce much gas, but carbohydrates tend to produce a lot of gas. Fat can slow the digestion down which, in turn, can lead to bloating.
Things Really Do Change During Pregnancy
Where does pregnancy come into the equation? Since pregnancy slows digestion, undigested food sits in the colon longer and has an opportunity to ferment for a longer period of time. More fermentation means more gas. Constipation has the same effect in terms of bloating and gas because it is also a slowing of the bowel function.
Foods which can have a gassy effect on some women may not bother others at all. For instance, women who are lactose intolerant may produce a lot more gas and become very bloated by eating or drinking milk products. Another factor could be the variation in the balance of bacteria in the colon which could, in the end, lead to more gas.
Somebody Help Me!
What is a woman to do? Perhaps a good place to start would be in assessing your diet. During pregnancy, you may find that many different foods create gas, so cutting out everything that produces gas could mean a very imbalanced diet. Begin by cutting out the obvious culprits such as cruciferous veggies, sucrose and sodas, and if you find you receive relief, add them back one at a time to pinpoint what is bothering you. Pasta and potatoes can be a source of gas for some people as can certain high-fiber foods like oat bran and beans because they take a long time to break down in the body. Keeping a food diary may be of great help in this process.