Expert Advice on Reducing Gas and Bloating in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is one of the most impressive biological features of the human race (or any species) since it allows us to create new life from seemingly nothing. Pregnancy involves the gestation of a brand-new person within the mother's body, which is equally impressive and strenuous. Having a child is a major biological process that radically alters the body to accommodate the new organism. As a result, the mother experiences significant discomfort and body alterations that impact her mental and physical health.
Most assume pregnancy just leads to the typical stomach growth (which can wreak havoc on the mother's self-esteem). The traditional hormonal changes are also consistently exaggerated in media to make pregnancy look like it drives women crazy. That said, there are physical symptoms caused by pregnancy that can be unpleasant for both the mother and those around her.
A mother's body undergoes massive physiological changes to accommodate the child growing within. This causes certain biological functions to go haywire and be more sensitive than before the pregnancy. One of the most uncomfortable manifestations of this phenomenon involves bloating and gas, which are common in a typical body. A woman experiences these symptoms more frequently and severely when she becomes pregnant.
Reducing these symptoms during pregnancy is challenging since there is always the risk of harming your unborn child by taking certain medications or foods. Fortunately, certain compounds are considered safe during pregnancy.
Step #1: Identify the Trigger
The first step to reducing gas and bloating during pregnancy is knowing what is causing it. Fortunately, the cause of these symptoms is usually the same for most women. The female body produces a steroidal hormone called progesterone, typically manufactured by the adrenal cortex and uterus. Progesterone is also produced in male bodies but for a different purpose and far smaller concentrations.
Nevertheless, progesterone is a common feature in the human body that is always present in healthy individuals. Progesterone is a hormone designed to support the reproductive system, making it incredibly important to anyone wanting to have children. Progesterone is most important for biological women because it supports the menstrual process and maintains the early stages of pregnancy.
Ultimately, progesterone is a hormone that cannot be avoided and is essential to anyone with a healthy reproductive system. Unfortunately, the body does not reduce progesterone production when a woman becomes pregnant.
In reality, progesterone levels increase during pregnancy to ensure the process is healthy and stable. While the extra progesterone is beneficial, its side effects contribute to the mother's discomfort. One of the main side effects of excess progesterone is that it increases the amount of gas produced by the body and makes the mother feel bloated. Generally, these symptoms are harmless and are only minor issues for the mother (though the subsequent gas can be embarrassing for most women.
Unfortunately, the discomfort and embarrassment it causes are enough for most expectant mothers to seek a way to reduce the effects. Even worse is that progesterone does not always cause bloating and gas during pregnancy. Some cases are caused by dietary habits or simple gastrointestinal distress, both of which are extremely uncomfortable. That said, the most common cause of gas and bloating during pregnancy is constipation, which is extremely common in individuals regardless of pregnancy hormones.
The problem is that pregnancy makes it harder to detect the condition and can even make it easier to develop due to hormonal imbalance and dietary oddities. Knowing what is causing your bloating and gas is essential to undoing its effects and restoring your health to normal.
Step #2: Drink Plenty of Fluids
As trite as it might sound, ensuring you drink plenty of water can help reduce bloating and excess gas. This is because pregnancy also tends to cause constipation, which prevents you from excreting waste and contributes to bloating. Unlike other causes, constipation adds to the pain and discomfort associated with pregnancy by physically preventing relief.
Water has been known to flush waste matter from the body and alleviate pressure, but it mainly works because of dehydration. Dehydration causes constipation, making it much easier to become dehydrated while pregnant. When a woman is pregnant, she supports the needs of 2 people: herself and her unborn child. As a result, she must consume more food, drink more water, and sleep more often to ensure the child develops properly.
The body prioritizes sustaining the fetus during pregnancy, so most nutrients and fluids are diverted to the child. This means you might end up hydrating the child before yourself and accidentally dehydrating yourself.
Ideally, you should drink 8 glasses of water daily to ensure both you and your child are properly hydrated. This, in turn, reduces the chances of dehydration-induced constipation, reducing bloating and gas caused by the latter. It can be difficult to detect symptoms of dehydration during pregnancy since there is so much going on with your body. Therefore, your best bet is always to exercise proper hydration to ensure dehydration is never a risk. Unfortunately, other risks must be considered to avoid bloating or excess gas.
Step #3 (Option #1): Consume Fiber
While we are on the topic of constipation, the condition can manifest naturally during pregnancy regardless of hydration habits. Constipation is a blockage in our gastrointestinal tract that prevents us from excreting, which traps gas in the body and causes bloating. Eventually, the excess is released through flatulence or burping, but we continue to feel the effects.
Fortunately, there is a specific nutrient our bodies use to stimulate excretion that can help us overcome constipation. Fiber is one of the main nutrients we should consume regularly (though that has become more difficult recently due to the rise of fast food) because it is important for a healthy body. However, fiber is also known for inducing waste excretion and making us more likely to defecate in a short period.
Increasing your fiber consumption can help the body power through the symptoms of constipation and force itself to excrete waste. Fiber accomplishes this by drawing water into the intestines and softening the stool, making it easier to pass through the body.
Vacating the trapped waste will reduce the amount of gas your body produces and leave less trapped within your gastrointestinal tract. This reduces the bloating sensation and is completely safe for pregnant women as long as you do not abuse the process. The best choice is to consume between 25 to 30 grams of high-fiber food daily until symptoms subside.
There are several fruits and whole grains that provide the fiber content you will need to enjoy the effects. If you are not interested in eating foods rich in fiber, there are fiber supplements you can use instead, though you must ensure there are no additional ingredients that might compromise your health or that of your child. Otherwise, you should have little trouble using them to overcome the symptoms of constipation.
Step #3 (Option #2): Stool Softeners
Increasing your fiber intake or using fiber supplements are effective tactics for countering the effects of constipation. That said, some people prefer a different approach that does not require diet alterations. Fortunately, the effect fiber has of softening stool can be found in other, more mainstream resources.
There are stool softeners on the market that can help you overcome your constipation and reduce the feelings of bloating during your pregnancy. Stool softeners have been available for decades and function by wetting the stool just like how fiber introduces water to soften it. The difference is that stool softeners do not need to absorb water from the body to function and usually provide the necessary liquid.
Stool softeners ensure the waste in our bodies can be excreted despite blockages, but they come with the same risks as any pharmaceutical. Therefore, you must consult with your primary care provider to ensure the softener will not compromise your child's health. Fortunately, most stool softeners are safe for pregnant women, but you can never be too careful about your child's health. Using stool softeners can alleviate gas and bloating the same way an increase in fiber can, but sometimes constipation is not the issue.
Step #3 (Option #3): Probiotics
The gastrointestinal system is extremely complicated regardless of whether you are carrying a child. Our gastrointestinal tracts are a biome where microscopic organisms dwell and regulate bodily functions. Most digestion is stimulated and overseen by bacteria that our bodies actively need to stay healthy. Most people assume bacteria are inherently harmful to our health because our main introduction to them involves countering bacterial infections that make us sick.
However, countless bacteria are native to our bodies or can be introduced to enhance our health and natural functions. One class of microbial organisms was discovered in the early 20th century and has become famous in modern society for its benefits on the human body. Probiotic organisms are remarkably similar to the bacteria native to the human gastrointestinal tract, making them highly effective at synergizing with them. Probiotic organisms have been well regarded for their ability to restore gastrointestinal biomes to a healthy state.
Probiotic organisms are wildly varied, with over 500 species and strains identified as of the 21st century. Some strains and species are more valuable than others and can only be found in certain foods and drinks where the organisms thrive. There are probiotic species that are known to help replenish the ranks of bacteria found in our gastrointestinal tract.
When these organisms experience a population decline, the gut is thrown into disarray, and you could experience several digestive issues like bloating or excess gas. Probiotics restore balance and reduce these symptoms and can eliminate them. Probiotics have been tied to several gastrointestinal health benefits, making them highly valued in modern society. Probiotics are considered safe for pregnant women, but they should be sparingly used since there are still studies ongoing to confirm this assessment.
Probiotics are effective if a bacterial imbalance causes bloating and gas, but certain issues with pregnancy cannot be treated.
Step #3 (Option #4): Try to Relax
Pregnancy is a situation where hormones run rampant, and you are dealing with constant pain and discomfort. This can be frustrating and stressful, making you feel like you are going insane. As a result, it is common for expectant mothers to experience stress and anxiety that leads to stressed breathing or hyperventilation.
While excitable breathing is not inherently dangerous to your health or that of your child, it can cause you to swallow more air than you are supposed to. This can contribute to the concentration of gas in your body and contribute to discomfort and bloating. This cannot be treated with supplements or dietary changes and must be addressed by reducing stress and keeping yourself as calm as possible.
This might be challenging since controlling your mental state is already difficult if you are not pregnant. Unfortunately, it is the only real solution if your symptoms are because of intense breathing. If it is from anything else, you might be able to find a supplement that can handle the problem.
Finding the Right Blend
Pregnancy is simultaneously one of the most stressful and beautiful things we can go through and serves as the method through which we bring new life into the world. Unfortunately, the effects of pregnancy can be strenuous on the body and cause some unpleasant symptoms. Some of these symptoms exacerbate the discomfort associated with carrying another human inside you. Fortunately, these additional symptoms can be treated without harming your child so you can stay as healthy and comfortable as possible. The trick is finding a tool that is as natural as possible to ensure no risk to your child.
We at Teami understand that pregnancy is a challenging time and that it can lead to unpleasant symptoms. That is why we have worked tirelessly to cultivate a catalog of supplements that can help keep you healthy and comfortable. Our products are made from natural compounds, meaning there is no risk to your child (though you should always consult with your physician before adding a new supplement to your diet). We recommend our Gut Love Probiotic + Prebiotic Powder for any bacterial-related gastrointestinal distress. We encourage you to visit our website and try our product directly. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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