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Menstrual-Like Cramping & Gas While Pregnant

author image Kathryn Walsh
Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Menstrual-Like Cramping & Gas While Pregnant
Pregnant woman relaxing in lotus position in studio. Photo Credit: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Although you don’t get your period during pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to feel menstrual-like cramps during this time. Cramps may be caused by gas, or they may be a sign of a larger problem. Pay attention to what you’re eating and doing before you feel the cramps so you’ll be able to tell whether the pain is caused by gas or something else.

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Causes of Gas

Everyone has gas, with most people producing up to four pints a day, but several factors can cause a pregnant woman to have more gas than usual. You may be making more of an effort to eat a healthy diet full of leafy greens and beans, both of which cause gas. Pregnant women also have high levels of the hormone progesterone, which causes gas. Later in your pregnancy, your gas may be caused by a slowdown in your digestion caused by the size of your baby.

Foods to Avoid

Cutting out certain foods from your diet can relieve some of your gas, but unfortunately many of the foods that cause this unpleasant sensation are healthy foods. Beans, whole grains and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus may cause gas. Rather than cutting all these foods out of your diet, try not to eat a meal that includes multiple gas-causing foods. Dairy products may also be causing your discomfort. If you feel the worst pain after eating dairy, limit your intake of these foods. Sodas and any other product made with high fructose corn syrup will also cause gas. Cut these products out of your diet altogether.

Getting Relief

Gas can be caused by ingesting a lot of air. You’ll gulp in much more air when you’re eating in a hurry or talking while you eat, so chew and drink slowly and put off your conversations until you’re done eating. Once you have gas pains, exercising can help speed up your digestion and relieve your pain. Take a walk around the neighborhood or do some yoga stretches. Gas-relieving medication that contains simethicone may also help. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication.

Potential Dangers

While gas pains are a normal part of pregnancy, cramping can be a sign of serious trouble. If your cramping is accompanied by bleeding, dizziness or nausea, or if the pain lasts for more than a few minutes, call your doctor right away. Cramping that is accompanied by bleeding could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy in the first few months of pregnancy. Later on, it may be a sign that you’re going into labor.

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