What to Do About Bloating During Pregnancy

Mandy, Midwife at The Baby Academy

When does bloating happen during pregnancy?

Bloating is one of the most consistent, but least charming early pregnancy symptoms- spanning from week 11 right up to delivery day. 

What causes pregnancy bloating?

You can thank progesterone for your new, more puffy stomach. While progesterone (the pro-gestation hormone) is, almost by definition, essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, it also triggers the deadly trio of bloating, burping, and passing gas.

How does it work? 

Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscle tissue in your body- slowing down digestion and allowing the nutrients from the food you eat more time to enter your bloodstream and reach your baby. 

The downside is that slower digestion can make you feel bloated and give rise to a cramp or two (or several). 

How long does pregnancy bloating last?

Unfortunately, bloating is likely to aggravate as your pregnancy progresses. It’s a bit of a pain for you (literally), but take comfort in knowing that your baby is oblivious to the discomfort of pregnancy bloating and the other pregnancy symptoms you’re experiencing (yes, we’re talking about you, morning sickness).

How to get rid of bloating during pregnancy

While you’re highly likely to experience bloating in some shape or form during pregnancy regardless of what you do, there are a few things you can do to manage constipation and thus limit the build-up of painful gas. 

  1. Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated helps ward off constipation- a common cause of excess gas and bloating.

  1. Fit in fiber

Eating a lot of fiber is another proven way to alleviate pregnancy constipation. Leafy greens, legumes, whole grains (like whole-wheat bread or pasta), and fruits are all great options in this regard. You should increase your fiber consumption gradually, though, as adding tons of fiber to your diet suddenly can cause excess gas.

  1. Go for smaller meals

By eschewing your three square meals a day for six smaller ones you can prevent your digestive system from becoming overloaded, and keep gas pains and heartburn in check. 

  1. Slow down

If you eat quickly, you’re probably swallowing a large portion of air alongside your food. This air will end up settling into your stomach in the form of painful gas bubbles and bloating. You’ll be busy during pregnancy, we understand, but try to eat at a leisurely pace if you can. Not only will you cut down on your abdominal discomfort, but you’ll be giving yourself a well-deserved break.

  1. Try probiotics

Eating foods rich in probiotics (namely- yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread, pickles, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi) support good bacteria which keep your gut happy, and may help fight constipation and gas. 

  1. Take a walk

Even a brisk 10-minute post-prandial stroll outside can help keep things moving before gas takes hold.

The majority of pregnant women experience bloating during their term. But you can take heart knowing that this, too, will end- and you’ll be left with a flat stomach and a baby in your arms.