It’s no secret that during pregnancy a woman’s body goes through many changes and challenges. Something which one could expect is a few gastrointestinal challenges. These include heartburn, morning sickness, constipation, diarrhea, tummy pain, gas, and even bloating. These can be due to hormonal changes, prenatal vitamins, as well as the fact that there is a baby pressing against your organs.
What Is Bloating And What Causes It?
Bloating is very normal, even in healthy pregnancies. It may start somewhere near to the end of the first trimester and could continue till the end of your pregnancy. This could result in discomfort when wearing pants, bending over, or even walking. So, what is this uncomfortable feeling known as bloating? It is the ‘swelling’ of the abdominal area with either gas or air and may be a result of constipation. Many things can cause this, ranging from that what you eat to how quickly your food gets digested. This helpful blog by Mommy Authority has more helpful information about nutrition during pregnancy.
Sherry Ross, MD, from Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, states that a woman who already has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms will probably experience more digestive problems during pregnancy than most other mothers. With this article, we do not want to scare you. On the contrary, we would like to help by providing you with a few steps to target the symptoms and also keep you and your baby healthy.
1. Include Fiber In Your Diet
Fiber does not get digested, however, it rather moves to the intestine and absorbs water. Here it creates a bulky, yet soft substance that stimulates the muscles to move waste out of the body. As a result, it helps to prevent constipation. You can easily get fiber from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Examples of foods that contain fiber, which is also beneficial for other reasons during pregnancy include, banana, spinach, avocado, and nuts. Just remember that certain fibrous foods can also cause gas. Thus, it is best to limit the intake of foods like broccoli, beans, and Brussels sprouts.
2. Drink Enough Liquids
The best liquid you could drink is obviously water. During pregnancy, drinking water is crucial. A woman’s blood volume goes up by 1.5 liters – thus, it is important to stay hydrated. Not only does dehydration cause bloating but it may also cause high blood pressure, headaches, a sluggish mood, and even anxiety. Also, due to the fact that fiber absorbs water, a lack thereof will also cause a bulky fiber build up resulting in constipation. It is best to find out the correct amount of water you should be drinking based on your size and weight, however, it is roughly 2 liters per day.
3. Move Your Body
Just because you are pregnant, does not mean you may not move or even be physically active. You may continue exercising (consult a professional for guidance) or even go for a 30-minute walk. There are many benefits thereof, however, it will help with digestion and ultimately reduce the chances of bloating.
4. Keep A Food Diary
Tracking the foods you eat can be very helpful. With this simple tool, you can get an idea of which foods may be causing abdominal pain, constipation, gas, or bloating. Logging your intake for about 2 weeks will be sufficient to see any symptoms of bloating.
5. Stay Calm
Stress can trigger IBS instantly, thus it is important to take it easy. Stay away from any stressful environments or situations as best you can. Also, ensure you have the correct support you need from your partner as well as your family and friends – as they can play a big role in reducing or preventing stress. It is also crucial that you keep your heart rate stable. Ways to help you stay relaxed and calm include, doing yoga or meditation and also reducing the intake of caffeine and foods/beverages high in sugar.
6. Use Over-The-Counter Medication
In times of need – you may use a stool softener as it can relieve constipation. However, it is best to first consult a doctor before using any laxative as certain types may be too hard on the intestine.
7. Reconsider Your Medication
If you have IBS and you are on medication, it is best to first ask your doctor what your next step should be. This is because the drugs for IBS may be harmful to your baby. You will either have to stop your medication or use something else until you have given birth.
** featured photo from: https://farmajet.blog/2018/05/22/cosa-causa-gonfiore-addominale/