What Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy That Cause Bloating

white bean bacon and kale soup
A bowl of soup with beans and greens. (Image: juliedeshaies/iStock/Getty Images)

When you’re pregnant, you have enough to worry and think about without feeling bloated. Unfortunately, when you’re pregnant, having gas and feeling bloated are par for the course. In the beginning of pregnancy, before there’s a visible sign of your baby, an increase in the hormone progesterone causes your gastrointestinal tract to relax, which slows your digestion and results in gas and bloating. If you’re really uncomfortable, consider changing your diet to eliminate common gas-causing foods.

Beans and Greens

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and beans, contain a sugar called raffinose. Raffinose can cause bloating and make certain people gassy, as Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator, told the “Huffington Post.” Avoid eating vegetables with fatty foods, which slows digestion, and spice up these foods with rosemary, ginger and bay leaf, which helps break down the sugars. Soak dry beans overnight and rinse canned beans to reduce their raffinose.

Is Fiber Your Friend?

Fiber-rich foods include oat bran, beans, peas and many fruits, which are all healthy foods for you and your developing baby. The problem with fiber is that it’s broken down in your large intestine, which can cause gas. Don’t avoid fiber altogether, though, because it helps stave off another common pregnancy complaint – constipation. Increase fiber gradually to give your body time to adjust and to not produce as much gas. The BabyCenter website recommends wheat bran, which goes through your digestive system without breaking down. This way, you avoid feeling bloated.

Choose Beverages Wisely

Soda and fruit juices are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose is a sugar that causes gas and bloating. Fructose is also found naturally in leeks, onions, scallions, dried fruit, pears, apples, honey and wheat. The carbonation in soda also causes excessive bloating. If you rely on diet soda, you’re in even more trouble. Sugar substitutes, including mannitol and sorbitol, cause gas in your stomach.

Water Retention

If you’re craving salty foods, this one may be difficult, but steer clear of excessive amounts of sodium in your diet. Sodium causes you to keep more water in your body, which leads to bloating. Don’t add table salt to your foods and avoid canned foods, a lot of condiments and processed foods. Carbohydrates, including pasta, bread and rice, cause you to store more water than protein foods. Some starches, such as wheat, corn and potatoes, also cause gas in sensitive people.

Getting Enough Calcium for Baby

If you are severely lactose intolerant, you were most likely aware of your intolerance before pregnancy because you likely felt abdominal pain and diarrhea from eating dairy foods. If you are mildly lactose intolerant, you might realize this during pregnancy because of your need for extra calcium. The sudden uptick in dairy products can cause you to experience bloating and other stomach discomforts. If this is your situation, buy lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified soy milk, or speak to your doctor about taking a calcium supplement.

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