It may be embarrassing to talk about, but that doesn't make it any less of a fact: people have gas. Whether through a belch or flatulence, people pass gas 14 times a day on average, according to the Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately for expecting women, this gas expulsion average is even higher, making for some uncomfortable moments. But fear not! Find out what triggers gas and what you can do to prevent and manage it.
What Causes Gas, Anyway?
"Bloating [and gas] during pregnancy can be caused by many things," says Jackie Keller, founding director of NutriFit, LLC. It might be something as simple as swallowing air when you eat or chew gum. Or, the foods you eat may contribute the uncomfortable tightness you feel in your abdomen.
The prominence of progesterone in a pregnant woman's body also plays a major role in excessive gas. Progesterone slows the digestive process, causing that horrible bloated feeling and subsequent gas. Likewise, the weight of your growing baby presses onto the digestive tract, further slowing things down. This spells gassy mayhem when you're expecting.
It may seem that there is no solution, but don't fret! Here are five easy ways to reduce gas and bloating so you can feel better and (breathe easier!) during pregnancy.
The foods you eat have a direct impact on the amount of gas you experience, pregnant or not. But for the pregnant woman, gassy foods can be particularly troublesome. Avoid "artificial sweeteners, especially those in diet soda," says Keller. If you haven't noticed, many of these artificially sweetened drinks have warnings on their labels regarding their likelihood of causing diarrhea. Gas should also be on that warning.
Certain foods cause gas in just about everyone, says Dr. Patricia Raymond, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School. These foods include, "beans, cabbage, onions, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus and corn; fruits such as pears, apples, prunes and peaches; whole grain products and oats; milk, ice cream and cheese; and carbonated drinks [and] fruit juices," says Dr. Raymond.