Pregnancy comes with many changes in body functions. Bloating is just one of them. It is uncomfortable and is accompanied by increased gas or flatulence. The expected weight gain will come later, but you may feel you are already bigger. You will have a sense of fullness in the pelvic area, and may need to loosen your waistband.
Bloating in Early Pregnancy—Is It Normal?
Hormonal changes cause normal bloating in early pregnancy; however, it should not be accompanied with severe abdominal pain. If you are having substantial pain in your abdomen, or bouts of diarrhea, dark or bloody stools, your doctor should be notified immediately.
What Causes Bloating in Early Pregnancy?
A few well-known sources contribute to bloating. The uterus takes up more space in the pelvic area and you tend to be constipated easily. The changes in predominant hormones slow digestion and on top of all that you gain weight.
|Uterus swelling||In early pregnancy, your uterus fills up with blood and the endometrial lining thickens, just as in your normal period. The difference is that the inside layer will not tear off and be expelled due to fertilization. A high blood flow increases the heart rate and uterine swelling occurs. The engorged uterus takes up more space in the pelvic cavity.|
|Constipation||This is a common cause of bloating. Increased progesterone levels cause smooth muscles to relax. That includes your intestines and digestive tract. This relaxation increases the time it takes to digest your food, and gives the baby more opportunity to absorb the much-needed nutrition. The fetus also takes water from the mother, causing mom to have dry stools. It takes longer to expel the stool and increases the gas and bloating in the process.|
|Increase in weight||When you are eating for two, you just seem to stay hungry. You are on a nutritious diet and taking vitamin pills, but those cravings can really increase your calories. You get more rest when you can and you decrease your physical activity. You look and feel plump and are more uncomfortable day by day.|
|Gas||You form more gas when your digestion slows to an all-time low. It is normal, but miserable. The same hormone causes constipation that slows the pace of processing your food. Bacteria in your intestines break down the food causing gas to form. The longer it takes, the more gas you have. By resting more and doing less strenuous exercise, the movement in your digestive tract slows down even more. In addition, you may develop “heartburn” or indigestion, as the acids tend to back up into your throat.|
How to Relieve Bloating in Early Pregnancy
1. Drink Enough Water. You must increase your fluid intake as soon as you know you are pregnant. You should avoid drinks high in caffeine, sugar or alcohol and carbonation.Soda pop and pregnancy are not a good combination; it is full of sugar or sugar substitutes. Just increasing your liquids will help move food through the gastrointestinal tract a little faster.
2. Eat Vegetables and Avoid Gassy Foods. While it’s good to eat more vegetables, you have to be particular in your choices. Certain foods are known to be gassy and should be limited such as broccoli, cabbage and beans. Fried, greasy and highly seasoned foods may taste great, but they take much longer to be broken down by the intestines. When eating, take your time. People who gobble their meal down tend to swallow more air, which in turn produces more burps and digestive disorders. Learn to chew thoroughly and enjoy your meals.
3. Keep a Healthy Diet. It may be the most peaceful part of your day. You should always eat or drink sitting up. Gravity is wonderful at preventing acid backup. Eating more fruits and staying on a high fiber diet will provide quite a bit of relief. Bran cereal is a good example, as are leafy greens like spinach. Foodstuffs high in fiber help draw fluid into your gastrointestinal tract and aid in elimination.
4. Have Small Meals. Eating several small meals a day instead of three large ones will also help. This will maintain an even insulin level and can contribute to a fewer hunger pangs. It is easier for your body to process a small amount of food, which reduces the time it takes to evacuate the stool.
5. Get Rid of Stress. Stress is a common reason people have bloating and gas, even more so with pregnancy. Tension causes some people to eat more and eat faster, and either can cause you to swallow more air and increase the gas and associated bloating. Chewing gum and using a straw also increases air into the stomach. It’s the little things like this you just wouldn’t think of.
6. Use Medications. Try meditation to relieve anxiety and avoid situations that create emotional upset. Yoga exercises cannot only reduce apprehension —it will assist in promoting a more normal routine for bowel movements. You can also take walks—it’s good for the heart muscles and improves the rate of digestion.
7. Talk to Your Doctor About Natural Remedies. Numerous natural remedies report an improvement in the digestive process, but ask your physician before you use natural remedies. If all else fails, you can ask your doctor about an over the counter preparation.
8. Deal With Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome is a completely separate condition. If you have already been diagnosed with that, you should inform your physician. Together you can monitor your progress and correct therapies can be provided.