During pregnancy, an expectant mother experiences a wide range of biological and physical changes. Along with these changes comes varying degrees of bloating and discomfort, which many times, are caused by gas, constipation or heartburn. Fortunately, there are several ways that these issues can be alleviated.
Gas and Constipation Relief
Avoid carbonated beverages. Drink water instead of carbonated beverages to flush out and invigorate a sluggish system, which prevents constipation. Carbonated beverages can also contribute to bloating by causing excess gas.
Exercise regularly to help prevent constipation and a buildup of excess gas by helping gas and stool move through the stomach and intestines more rapidly.
Monitor your response to dairy. Dairy products can produce excess gas in some people, which causes bloating. Avoid dairy if this occurs with you.
Create the right balance of fiber in your diet, snacking on fibrous foods such as blueberries and strawberries. Then, gradually increase your fiber, while making appropriate adjustments based on your body’s responses.
Chew slowly with a closed mouth. This helps prevent swallowing excessive amounts of air while eating, which is a major cause of bloating.
Screen your medications. Some prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements -- such as those containing iron, carbonate or bicarbonate -- can cause bloating and constipation.
Consult your health care provider before taking stool softeners and simethicone anti-gas products. The active ingredients in these products are not absorbed in the body, thus, the possibility of adversely impacting the baby is improbable. However, discuss taking these or any other medications with your doctor beforehand.
Avoid common heartburn triggers. This includes greasy or spicy foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, chocolate, tomato sauces, peppermint and caffeine.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Consuming six smaller meals as opposed to three larger ones may help prevent heartburn and acid reflux.
Elevate your head or bed. Lifting the head of your bed an additional 4 to 6 inches may reduce the occurrence of acid reflux.
Avoid tight-fitting clothing. Tight clothing around the waist area increases stomach and lower esophageal sphincter pressure, which could contribute to acid reflux or heartburn.
Do not lie down immediately after eating. Waiting three to four hours before lying down helps prevent stomach acids from backing up into your esophagus.
Consult your health care provider before taking certain antacids. Antacids containing calcium, aluminum or magnesium are found to have little to no side effects during pregnancy. However, discuss this with your doctor before taking these or any other medications.
Fruit juices -- especially prune juice, which is associated with constipation relief -- can be an additional beverage option, second to water.
Fiber prevents constipation by helping substances pass through the digestive tract more efficiently, which reduces bloating. However, some high-fiber foods can cause excess gas, which contributes to bloating. Avoid a yo-yo effect by increasing your fiber intake slowly.
If dairy causes you to experience excess gas or bloating, consider taking lactase enzymes before consuming dairy products or switch to lactose-free products, including soy.
- Encyclopedia.com: Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine -- Pregnancy
- Parents: 10 Ways to Beat Bloating
- Baby Center: Gas and Bloating During Pregnancy
- MayoClinic.com: Pregnancy Constipation - Are Stool Softeners Safe?
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy and Constipation
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy and Heartburn
- Science Daily: Tips To Ease The Heartburn Of Pregnancy