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Home > Learn > Pregnancy > >Managing Gas During Pregnancy

Managing Gas During Pregnancy

Aug 08, 23 5 min

Originally published 02/02/2021. Updated for accuracy and relevancy on 08/08/2023.

Gas during pregnancy can be uncomfortable, painful, and can cause bloating and cramping. What pregnancy-safe remedies are there to reduce and manage gas?

By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

What Causes Gas During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy can cause an extra build-up of gas than what you’re used to, and it can be painful and uncomfortable to deal with. Fortunately, this is a very common symptom of pregnancy, and you don’t have anything to worry about. 

So what causes the extra gas? The short answer is hormones. Progesterone increases during pregnancy to nurture and protect your baby, but it also plays a role in our muscles. [1] Muscles in your body, including intestinal muscles, will relax once exposed to progesterone. When these muscles relax, digestion slows down and gas is able to build up more easily, causing bloating, flatulence, and burping. [1] There’s also an increase in pressure as your pregnancy progresses, slowing digestion and increasing gas build up.

How Can I Reduce Gas During Pregnancy? 

There’s not much you can do about the hormones your body is releasing, or your ever-growing uterus, but you can try to manage gas by avoiding certain food and drinks, and adopting new habits such as [2]: 

  • Using a straw to drink
  • Eating smaller meals throughout the day
  • Exercising
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Eating slowly and chewing thoroughly 

That’s right, chewing slowly and fully can actually help relieve some gas. Bacteria in the large intestine have to work to break down any undigested food, sometimes causing excess gas. [3] 

Low Gas Diet Tips

Certain foods can worsen or improve gas. If foods aren’t fully digested, like certain carbohydrates, then gas production is increased. Some foods that may increase gas production include [2]:

  • Apples, peaches, pears, and fruit juices
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc. 
  • Legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils
  • Dairy products
  • Whole grains
  • Sugary drinks or products containing high fructose corn syrup
  • Drinks and products with sweeteners, such as candy, gum, diet sodas, etc. 

Depending on any underlying conditions you may have, some people find that a low FODMAP diet can be helpful for improving digestion. [2] You may also want to try gluten-free alternatives for a while, or limit high carb foods. [2] Good options include [4]:

  • Apricots
  • Green beans
  • Okra
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Rice

Constipation and Gas

At least one in four women will experience constipation during their pregnancy. [5] Whether it be caused by hormones, iron supplementation, or inadequate fluid intake, constipation is a common and uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. Drinking plenty of water and taking a fiber supplement can not only help reduce constipation, but can manage hemorrhoids, gas, and bloating. Some people may actually experience excess gas if they consume too much fiber, so be sure to speak to your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements or changing your diet. [2] Opting for a fiber that is non-fermenting, such as psyllium fiber, can also be helpful for reducing gastrointestinal upset. 

 

Natalist call to action featuring fiber supplement

 

Painful Gas During Pregnancy

Not only is gas uncomfortable, it can turn into severe pain felt in the chest, stomach, and back. If you’re noticing pain associated with your gas, you may want to consult your doctor on taking a gas-relief medicine. Simethicone is a common compound used for bloating and indigestion and is deemed pregnancy safe. [6] Your discomfort could also be related to constipation, which can be remedied through a high-fiber diet or taking a fiber supplement. 

Pregnancy Safe Gas Relief

While you may want to try just about anything to get rid of gas and constipation, there are some products that you should stay away from while pregnant:

  • Laxatives: Laxatives should be a last resort and only taken after consulting your doctor.
  • Pepto-bismol: While you may want to reach for that pink bottle at the first sign of indigestion, one of the ingredients, bismuth subsalicylate, isn’t recommended for use while pregnant. [7] 

Gas-X, Mylanta, Tums, and other antacids or medicines containing simethicone are pregnancy safe and can be very helpful for reducing gas pain. Some other pregnancy safe options are:

  • Peppermint tea: A natural remedy for relieving an upset stomach (Try Nausea Relief Tea for digestive relief).
  • Water: Staying hydrated can aid in digestion and decrease constipation, gas, and bloating. Try carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day to help increase your water intake!
  • Psyllium fiber: Safe and effective, fiber is known as the magic pregnancy supplement. 

Manage Pregnancy Symptoms With Natalist Products

Pregnancy can cause an increase in gas production due to higher levels of certain hormones, such as progesterone. Gas can be painful, uncomfortable, and annoying to deal with on top of other pregnancy symptoms. To reduce gas and promote healthy digestion, ensure you are drinking plenty of water, eating smaller meals, exercising, chewing thoroughly, and altering your diet. Taking a fiber supplement may also be helpful for constipation and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Natalist offers non-fermenting fiber supplements, as well as peppermint tea, hydration and energy drink mix, and many other products designed to safely support your pregnancy symptoms. Shop all pregnancy products → 


References:

  1. Al-Shboul OA, Mustafa AG, Omar AA, et al. Effect of progesterone on nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling and contraction in gastric smooth muscle cells [published correction appears in Biomed Rep. 2020 Jan;12(1):36]. Biomed Rep. 2018;9(6):511-516. doi:10.3892/br.2018.1161
  2. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Gas in the Digestive Tract. NIH.  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. June 2021. URL
  3. Hasler WL. Gas and Bloating. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2006;2(9):654-662.
  4. Nall, R. Weatherspoon, D. Easy remedies for gas. Medical News Today. August 2018. URL
  5. Vazquez JC. Constipation, haemorrhoids, and heartburn in pregnancy. BMJ Clin Evid. 2010;2010:1411. Published 2010 Aug 3.
  6. Ingold CJ, Akhondi H. Simethicone. [Updated 2023 Jul 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555997/
  7. Anderka M, Mitchell AA, Louik C, et al. Medications used to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and the risk of selected birth defects. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2012;94(1):22-30. doi:10.1002/bdra.22865
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