Pregnancy is an amazing journey, accompanied by many physical changes and emotional ups and downs. It can make you exhausted, tired and excited all at the same time.
No matter how incredible your journey to motherhood is, pregnancy does cause some issues which you have to deal with. These include Indigestion, heartburn and gas to name a few. But this is the only time you wouldn’t mind dealing with these issues with a smile on your face. Excessive gas is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy.
Though it is normal to have air in your digestive tract, the gas accumulation gets worse as your pregnancy progresses. For many pregnant women, constant burping/belching and passing gas can cause constipation and utter discomfort.
Also Read: 11 Food Items to avoid during Pregnancy
Blame it on the hormones!
Hormone progesterone, which is produced in high levels during pregnancy, causes the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract to relax. This results in slower digestion, which in turn leads to increased gas accumulation in your digestive tract.
The gas problem can start as early as the first trimester of your pregnancy.
But should you worry about it?
Is it important enough to let your doctor know? Or are you getting embarrassed to speak about it with your doctor?
Does excessive gas harm your baby?
Can you avoid certain foods to prevent gas accumulation?
These are numerous questions that spring up in the mind of a pregnant woman.
Let us address some of your questions.
Yes. Your doctor should be aware of everything that is happening during your pregnancy. She will determine if the gas problem is pregnancy related or not. She might offer suitable remedies based on her diagnosis.
No, excessive gas in your digestive tract doesn’t harm your baby in any way. It will only add to your discomfort as your belly grows.
There are certain groups of vegetables which are known to cause gas. Also, if you have a food sensitivity, your body might produce more gas on consuming certain foods.
Let us see which types of food causes excess gas accumulation:
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Vegetables such as beans, cauliflower, cabbage, potato, broccoli etc., are generally known to release gas during digestion. They contain a sugar called Raffinose which can cause bloating and gassiness.
If you experience the gas accumulation after having these vegetables then avoid these in your diet.
Fibre is a must-have component of your diet as it prevents constipation. However, excessive fiber can be hard to digest for your digestive system which is already working slowly due to pregnancy hormones.
Slow digestion of the fiber makes you feel full for a longer time and may cause bloating also. Limit your quantities of high fiber foods like oat bran, beans, fruits, banana stem etc. Include more of wheat bran as this is not only fibrous but also easily digestible.
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Fatty and fried foods and starchy foods like white bread, corn, and potatoes also cause excessive gassiness. Though they don’t contain any gas-causing compounds, they are very slow to digest, thus causing gas.
Also, these foods can make you put on unhealthy weight. Instead of this, you can have baked products.
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Aerated drinks like soda, colas, bubbly water etc. can also cause excessive gas in your digestive tract. These drinks are artificially made effervescent by infusing sodium bicarbonate mixed with acid and hence, causes an immediate build-up of gas in your intestines.
Fruit juices or any ready-to-drink juices/shakes contain high quantities of fructose. Our body releases excess amounts of gas during the digestion of fructose. Instead of canned juices, drink fresh fruit juices.
Also Read: 13 Pregnancy myths and facts
If you are lactose intolerant, it means you are not producing enough of lactase enzyme which breaks down the lactose content in the dairy products. You may feel bloated whenever you consume an excess of dairy products like milk, cheese or ice cream.
There is no option other than belching to release the accumulated gas. However, if frequent gas accumulation is causing discomfort and embarrassment to you then there are few measures you can take to prevent the higher production of gas.
No matter how many precautions you take, you might face this issue at least once during your pregnancy. Being pregnant, it is always safe to rely on home remedies rather than taking medicines.
There are plenty of home remedies that can relieve you of gas and also improve your digestion. Let us see some of the remedies:
Include ginger in your cooking. Before meals, take one teaspoon of grated ginger to prevent gas accumulation. You can also mix a spoon of grated ginger with buttermilk and drink it after dinner every day.
Soak mint leaves in water for 4-5 hours. Remove the leaves and keep sipping the water throughout the day. You can also use mint leaves to garnish any of your salads, breakfast items and rice dishes.
Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Remove the seeds and drink the water on an empty stomach.
Take half teaspoon of ajwain seeds and mix it with a pinch of salt. Swallow this mixture along with water. This usually provides relief from gas within an hour.
Also Read: Importance of folic acid during pregnancy
Dear Mothers-to-be, pregnancy does bring many physical changes and limitations no doubt. But there are a lot of remedies and preventive measures you can always take. Gas accumulation in your digestive tract can not only cause discomfort but some embarrassing moments as well.
As suggested earlier in this article, limit intake of gas causing foods. Drink plenty of water and be physically active. Follow the preventive measures and try home remedies if you need relief. However, if you are facing severe discomfort, nausea, and vomiting, consult your doctor immediately.
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