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Trapped wind

Trapped wind and excessive bloating are, unfortunately, very common during pregnancy. Most women mention this problem as one of the most negative aspects of an otherwise beautiful period in their lives. This unpleasant and often embarrassing problem cannot be completely controlled but there are things a woman can do to make pregnancy more comfortable.

Causes of excessive wind in pregnancy

Swallowing air is the most common cause of bloating and gas normally, but in pregnancy the main cause is the hormone progesterone. This hormone makes the smooth muscles relax in order to make room for the growing baby, but it also makes intestines relax, which slows down the passage of food through the digestive system. This gives the bacteria more time to break down food and gas results as a by-product of this process.

Some foods cause gas more than others. Those foods include pulses, cabbage and cauliflower, but also onions, peas and dairy products. Because fatty and sugary foods, as well as foods with lots of carbohydrates, and take more time to digest, they tend to cause gas during pregnancy.

The symptoms get worse by the end of the third trimester, when the baby pushes the most against the stomach.

How to minimize gas and bloating

Start of the day is the most important. Having a cup of hot water with some lemon or peppermint will help push the yesterday’s food in the intestines and the same drink after each meal will reduce bloating.

Wheat bran for breakfast is also a good idea. It will stimulate the bowel movement without causing wind.

Stomach will digest the food much better if it is divided into several smaller meals.

Fizzy drinks like soda contain a lot of sugars which can aggravate the bloating and wind, and there is also the obvious reason- carbonated drinks contain small bubbles of air which can cause excessive gas in the intestines.

Sitting up when eating will make the food pass through the system more easily and it will reduce gas, indigestion and heartburn.

Pregnant women should give up gum, and for two reasons. One is that while chewing gum a person also swallows air, and the other is that sorbitol, found in most chewing gums, causes gas as a side effect.

Bloating is even more uncomfortable if a woman wears tight clothes that press and cut into the abdomen. Loose clothes are generally a better idea for pregnant women.

Pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened with adequate exercise, which can come in handy in occasions when it is really not appropriate to pass wind.

Exercise and a regular diet will also help reduce flatulence, bloating and gas.

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