If you pass a bit of gas around the dinner table during your pregnancy, your company will surely excuse you. Gas is extremely common during pregnancy, and you’ll feel like you can’t control your belching or your flatulence like you used to. While it might seem embarrassing, it’s something you’ll just have to accept. The increased levels of progesterone in your body when you’re pregnant will cause the muscles in your body to relax, so you won’t be able to hold anything in. You’ll also have a lot more gas built up as your digestive track loosens as well.

As far as belching goes, most of the gas is built up from swallowing air. You might swallow air while you’re talking or eating, and drinking carbonated drinks can make the problem even worse. Flatulence is mainly caused by gasses being released as bacteria are broken down in your large intestines. If you’re self-conscious about the amount of gas you’re producing, there are a few ways you can prevent it from sneaking out so frequently.

First, change your diet slightly to reduce gas. As a pregnant woman eating for two, there is no way to completely eliminate gas from your diet, but start by cutting down on beans, certain vegetables such as cabbage and asparagus, whole grains, milk products, diet foods and drinks, and certain fruits such as apples and pears. If you’re planning on making any drastic changes to your diet, always run it by your doctor first.

You should also drink plenty of water to reduce the amount of air in your stomach. Avoid soft drinks and carbonated beverages, but if you must drink them, let them sit in a glass for a while so that the amount of fizz is reduced.

Finally, try to reduce the amount of air you swallow. This sounds like a silly goal to have, but there are a few ways you can go about achieving it. Eat more slowly so that you’re only swallowing the food itself, and avoid chewing gum or eating hard candy. Also don’t talk with your mouth full while you’re eating, which is a habit you should carry on past the duration of your pregnancy.

While there are a few ways you can reduce the amount of belching and flatulence you have during your pregnancy, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s simply one of the many side effects.

Source: J.N. Hunt et al: Gastric Function in Pregnancy. International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Volume 65 Issue 1 pp. 78-83 2008

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