At seven weeks into your pregnancy, the bloating you experience is just getting started. Bloating is common throughout your pregnancy, especially when your growing uterus starts pressing on your stomach. There are several steps you can take to ease bloating caused by gas and constipation during your pregnancy.
Your body produces an increased amount of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy. This hormone relaxes smooth muscles throughout your body, which causes food to move more slowly through the gastrointestinal tract. Since food is not being digested as quickly, you become constipated, which results in bloating. In addition, gas remains in your intestines, worsening bloating with excess gas that causes embarrassing burping and flatulence. This is the same hormone responsible for the excessive fatigue you will soon experience in your pregnancy.
Before pregnancy, you might occasionally become bloated from gas or constipation, but the slowing of the digestive process makes general bloating worse during pregnancy. Constipation that results in bloating can occur from swallowing too much air, having increased levels of anxiety, eating a low-fiber diet and not being physically active. Large meals are difficult for the digestive symptom to break down, which causes bloating and discomfort, but this is even more uncomfortable for pregnant women because of progesterone. Foods that commonly cause gas are beans, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus. Greasy and spicy foods also increase gas, resulting in bloating.
Eat five or six small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. Keep your mouth closed as you thoroughly and slowly chew your food before swallowing. The enzymes in your mouth start the digestive process, so the more digestion done in your mouth, the less work your stomach and intestines do to break down foods. Avoid chewing gum and sucking on candy, since this increases the amount of air you swallow and leads to gas. Eat a lot of fiber to help push food through the digestive symptoms and reduce your risk of constipation. Fiber-rich foods include raspberries, apples, bran flakes, whole wheat spaghetti, black beans and peas. Replace iron supplements with an iron-rich diet, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, whole wheat, watermelon, beef, lentils and eggs. Iron supplements can worsen constipation for pregnant women. If you are struggling with constipation-related bloating while pregnant, drink 10 to 12 glasses of water per day and consume 25 to 30 g of fiber daily.
Exercise is one of the best treatment options for bloating at seven weeks pregnant and throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk or swimming laps, accelerates the rate food moves through your digestive system. Always get your doctor's approval before exercising during your pregnancy. An over-the-counter stool softener can relieve bloating from constipation, but always have your doctor’s approval before taking anything over the counter while pregnant. Never take laxatives, since they can stimulate contractions, and never use mineral oil, since it reduces nutrient absorption.