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Gastric Issues During Pregnancy

image of pregnant woman touching her belly with handsDuring your pregnancy, you will likely find that you are experiencing more gastric issues than usual. This is a common occurrence for women, but the fact that it’s normal doesn’t make it any less embarrassing or uncomfortable.

Why Gas Problems Occur During Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes your body to go through many changes. Some of these changes occur in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and can cause excessive flatulence and gas discomfort. So why are these issues specific to being pregnant?

During the early stages of your pregnancy, your body increases its release of progesterone, a hormone that can slow down digestion, giving gas more time to be produced. Your body’s response is to try and get rid of this excess gas by burping and farting, often up to 18 times a day.

Your uterus, of course, grows larger as your pregnancy progresses. As this happens, your intestines lose room and shift a bit to avoid being too crowded in your abdomen, slowing down digestion even further. Now your ever-larger uterus is pushing on your stomach, giving you an uncomfortable, bloated feeling, especially after eating a big meal.

Controlling embarrassing flatulence becomes especially difficult because the increase in progesterone relaxes your muscles, giving you less control over holding in your gas, as you may want to do in social situations.

What You Can Do About Gas When You’re Pregnant

Do some daily exercise to speed up your digestion and help things move along. Before beginning any exercise plan, however, first consult with your physician. You can do something as simple as taking a walk every day or take an exercise class at a gym that is safe for someone who is pregnant.

Tweak your diet a bit. Certain foods are known to trigger gas whether you’re pregnant or not. Watch out for the foods that cause you gas and try to stay away from them. Some of these foods include:

  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Whole grains
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage

These foods may not make you, in particular, gassy, so track what you eat and note how certain meals affect you.

Keep in mind that carbonated drinks make you gassy, as do fatty, fried foods.

Eat smaller meals and eat them more frequently throughout the day rather than having one huge meal in the evening.

Drink a lot of water to avoid constipation, another GI-related issue with pregnancy.

When To Consult a Doctor

If you are experiencing continued gastric issues, including constipation, diarrhea, or bloody stools during pregnancy, be sure you are drinking enough water during the day and consult the physicians at GI North for an evaluation. The gastroenterologists at GI North are located in Cumming, Georgia and also serve the surrounding areas of Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, Canton, and Suwanee.

Dr. Simon Cofrancesco and Dr. Sergio Quijano are dedicated to the care and comfort of their patients. Dr. Quijano, a native of Lima, Peru, who grew up in New York City, speaks fluent Spanish. Dr. Cofrancesco opened GI North in 2011. Call the friendly staff at GI North to set up an appointment or request more information.

© 2017 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.