Most pregnant women suffer from bloating and increased gas in the belly at some point during pregnancy. Gas can cause abdominal pain or discomfort.
During pregnancy, hormones relax the muscles in your digestive tract. This slows down your digestion and can cause gas to build up. Gas leads to bloating, burping, passing gas, discomfort, and pain in the belly—especially after a big meal.
Some people naturally produce more gas than others. Certain foods can make gas worse, but these vary from person to person. Some of these foods include:
- Some fiber-rich foods (such as oat bran and beans)
- Foods that contain certain sugars (such as cabbage and cauliflower)
- Dairy products (such as milk and cheese), especially for women who have trouble digesting these foods
Reduce the amount of air you swallow.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of a few large meals.
- Don't eat in a hurry. Take your time, chew your food thoroughly, and don't talk while eating.
- Avoid drinking from a bottle or straw.
- Cut down on carbonated beverages. Don't gulp while drinking.
- Avoid chewing gum or sucking on hard candy.
Identify foods that bother you.
- Keep a food diary to help you find the foods that cause problems.
- Cut back on these foods, if possible, while being sure to eat healthy foods.
- Cut back on fried and fatty foods, which can add to bloating.
Ask before taking over-the-counter remedies.
- Talk to your health care provider before taking over-the-counter medicines for your gas and bloating symptoms.
- Some medicines are unsafe during pregnancy and may harm you and your baby.
If changes in the food you eat and your habits don't help, talk to your health care provider. Contact your health care provider immediately if:
- Gas feels like labor contractions (coming and going regularly, every 5-10 minutes).
- Gas pain is accompanied by blood in your stool, severe diarrhea, or increased nausea and vomiting.
Last reviewed December 2013
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know you're pregnant?
Knowing the signs of pregnancy can help you tell if you’re pregnant. Here are some signs that you might be pregnant:
If you have any of these pregnancy signs and think you may be pregnant, go to your health care provider. The sooner you know you're pregnant, the sooner you can begin prenatal checkups and start taking good care of yourself and your growing baby.
Is my baby moving enough?
You'll start feeling your baby's kicks at around the 28th week of pregnancy. By this time, your baby's movements are usually well established and some health care providers recommend keeping track of these movements.
- Track kick counts at about the same time each day when your baby is active.
- Track kick counts shortly after you've eaten a meal (when your baby may be most active).
- Sit or lay on your side, place your hands on your belly and monitor baby's movement.
- Mark every movement down on a piece of paper. Don't count baby's hiccups.
Keep counting until you've felt 10 movements from baby. If baby doesn't move 10 times within 1 hour, try again later that day. Call your health provider if your baby's movement seems unusual or you've tried more than once that day and can't feel baby move 10 times or more during 1 hour.
When will I start feeling my baby move?
Popcorn popping. A little fish swimming. Bubbles. Butterflies. Tickles. These are common words used by women to describe their baby's first movements. Also known as "quickening," it's a reassuring sign that your baby is OK and growing. This milestone typically starts sometime between 18 to 25 weeks into pregnancy. For first-time moms, it may occur closer to 25 weeks, and for second- or third-time moms, it may happen much sooner.
At first it may be difficult to tell the difference between gas and your baby moving. You might not feel movement as early as you are expecting to feel it, but you'll notice a pattern soon. You'll start to learn when the baby is most active and what seems to get her moving.