Is it normal to experience bloating during pregnancy?

Along with gas pains, bloating is one of the early pregnancy symptoms occurred for most women.
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Kaitlyn Wilson
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June 3, 2024
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Is It Normal to Experience Bloating During Pregnancy? | Kin Fertility
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As well as a baby bouncing around in your belly, pregnant women can add bloating and gas pains to the ever-growing list of pregnancy symptoms. Bloating in early pregnancy occurs for most women and is probably not the most magical part of the pregnancy journey.

There are many reasons why you experience bloating during pregnancy and while it might not be the most comfortable, it is normal and no cause for concern. With this in mind, let's dive into all things pregnancy bloating and the best ways to treat it.

Is bloating and gas a sign of pregnancy?

Bloating is certainly high on the list of things to expect while you're expecting, but a baby on board is not the only thing that can cause a bloated belly.

Wondering if you're pregnant or just bloated? The easiest way to tell is to take a pregnancy test. If it comes back negative, there are a number of things that can cause bloating.

Some of these include:

  • Dairy products and fried foods
  • Your period
  • Stress
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Weight gain

So, while bloating can be a sign of early pregnancy, there are a number of other factors at play too.

Other early pregnancy symptoms include:

  • Missed period
  • Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)
  • Tender breasts
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue [1].

What does early pregnancy bloating feel like?

Bloating in early pregnancy might feel similar to having an inflated balloon in your belly. And, while pregnancy bloating isn't dangerous, it can cause feelings of seasickness, sluggishness, fullness, back pain and even diarrhoea or constipation.

The bloating can veer into uncomfortable but you shouldn't experience severe abdominal pain. If you are experiencing severe pain or bloating, you should seek medical attention to treat constipation and bloating and to make sure it is not an indicator of a more serious complication.

What causes pregnancy bloating?

As with many of the fun changes that occur during pregnancy, hormones are the main culprit when it bloating in early pregnancy. The hormone progesterone is one of the most important when it comes to developing and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

During the 3 trimesters, progesterone has different responsibilities. Within the early stages, it helps the womb to grow and keeps it from having contractions.

Later, it helps your breasts prepare to create breast milk and encourages lung capacity to ensure your baby gets enough oxygen. It also helps to prevent pregnancy loss and premature birth.

In addition to all of this, progesterone also, unfortunately, causes bloating and gas. Why? Well, it relaxes the large intestine, muscles and organs, which causes movement to slow in the gastrointestinal tract and leads to slower digestion.

Slow digestion allows air and gas to get trapped in the digestive tract, which leads to an increase in bloating and gas. Constipation is also more common during pregnancy and this can contribute to bloating and gas as well.

And finally, pregnancy can also exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, which can worsen bloating [2].

How long does bloating last in early pregnancy?

Is your baby bump looking bigger than expected? Bloating usually beings within the first trimester; in fact, bloating can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and can begin even before your missed period.

Increased gas during pregnancy is also extremely common within your first trimester.

Unfortunately, it's common for bloating to continue throughout the entire pregnancy as the foetus continues to grow and take up more space in the uterus [3].

Ways to help with bloating during pregnancy

There are several different ways to relieve pregnancy bloating [4]. Here's what to do:

Change your diet

What you eat plays a big part in beating the baby bloat. The biggest food group to avoid? Dairy products, especially if you're lactose intolerant.

Dairy products like milk can create bloating — even if you aren't lactose intolerant — so try to eat them in moderation while pregnant.

You might also want to consider cutting down on your intake of beans and legumes and try and eat smaller meals. Eating large portions can cause you to swallow more air, which leads the body to producing gas.

Fibre-rich foods

While fibre-rich foods can make gas during pregnancy worse initially, it is short-term pain for long-term gain. Fibre holds water, which helps to soften stools and allows it to pass through the digestive tract more easily.

Try to include 35-30 grams of fibre-rich foods into your diet. Fruits like figs, bananas and prunes are packed full of fibre, as are vegetables and whole grains like oat bran and flax meal.

Take a walk

Getting your steps up can relieve bloating by speeding up the digestive system and preventing constipation and pregnancy gas.

Aim for a 30-minute walk every day and get plenty of rest where possible.

Try probiotic supplements

Probiotics can be one of the best ways to support your gut health. While you can get probiotics from certain food such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, and more, a supplement can ensure you're getting all the good stuff in one go.

A good probiotic supplement will keep your gut happy by promoting good bacteria, which can assist with digestive issues and help relieve bloating and constipation.

Kin's Daily Digest supplement is designed to restore digestive health in one easy-to-drink formula. Our supplement contains pre and probiotics, fibre and digestive enzymes to ensure your gut's nutritional needs are being met.

Gut health is important for more than just digestion, it also supports your mental health through the gut-brain axis. That's why our formula contains patented probiotics that promote mental wellbeing, to look after your body and mind. Relieve bloating, indigestion, constipation and gas with this daily drink.

Hydrate

Drinking water is always recommended, but it is especially important for reducing bloating. Dehydration can cause constipation, which in turn, can lead to bloating.

Aim to consume at least 2 litres of water per day to keep bloating at bay and keep your digestion moving along nicely.

Can you prevent pregnancy bloating?

While bloating is inevitable to a certain extent, there are things you can do to lessen the severity of it.

The best way to prevent bloating during pregnancy are:

  • Go for a walk when you notice excessive wind building up
  • Avoid certain foods such as cabbage, cauliflower, legumes and spicy foods
  • Ease gut discomfort with a heat pack
  • Stop chewing gum
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Drinking 8 glasses of water per day — Our body needs to stay hydrated and healthy at the best of times and this also aids in reducing bloating.

Kin's Electrolyte Powder is packed with ingredients that work together to keep you hydrated, healthy and energised. Electrolytes and vitamin C are essential for keeping your water levels up and for providing essential nutrients to support your body’s mineral and fluid balance.

How much wind should a pregnant woman naturally produce?

Many women will notice excess wind while pregnant. Early pregnancy wind is linked to progesterone, which we know causes smooth muscle tissues to relax in the body and digestive tract, which can lead to flatulence.

While it might not be the most fun experience, don't be too concerned if you're a little more gassy than usual as this is all a part of the pregnancy process [5].

We know pregnancy can be a little overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be. Kin's Pregnancy Checklist consists of bite-sized checklist items personalised to your pregnancy journey. Approved by fertility specialists and OBYGN approved, you'll feel prepared to tackle each day as it comes and enjoy the process, rather than get lost in it.

Image credit: Getty Images

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