Flatulence & belching during pregnancy

Burping, or belching, and flatulence are both caused by gas trapped in the intestinal tract. Most people produce between one and three pints of gas each day.

When air is swallowed into the digestive tract it usually gets released as a burp or belch. Sometimes the air will travel through the intestinal tractThe portion of the alimentary canal that extends from the pylorus of the stomach to the anus and including the small and large intestines.
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, expelled at the other end as flatulence. The most common cause of flatulence is gas created in the large intestine by food that is not fully digested by the enzymesProteins produced by the body's cells which catalyzes chemical reactions in organic matter. While most enzymes catalyze reactions within cells, digestive enzymes, which are produced in much larger quantities, act outside of cells within the digestive tract.
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in the stomach. The food, commonly certain types of carbohydrate, continues to the large intestine where it is broken down by bacteria in the colon. The gas is released as flatulence.

Gas during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the hormoneA complex chemical substance created in a part or organ of the body. When released it initiates or regulates activity in an organ or group of cells in another part of the body.
Hormones secreted by endocrine glands are transported through the bloodstream to their target organ. The amount of hormone secreted is regulated either by other hormones, by neurotransmitters, or simply when an excess of the organ's activity indicates a need to reduce the amount of the hormone produced.
Other hormones are produced locally by the organs themselves and are common in the digestive tract.
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progesteroneOne of the two naturally occuring female hormones (the other is estrogen) used to regulate and maintain the pregnancy. Produced first by the corpus luteum in the ovary, production is subsequently taken over by the placenta as it develops. During pregnancy a mother's production of progesterone ten times the level it was prior to conception. Progesterone and estrogen are responsible for giving many mothers a sense of tranquility, shiny hair and glowing skin.
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softens and smoothes body tissues including the digestive tract. This slows down the digestive process so that more nutrients can be extracted from the food; a cause of
constipation during pregnancy. Because the enzymesProteins produced by the body's cells which catalyzes chemical reactions in organic matter. While most enzymes catalyze reactions within cells, digestive enzymes, which are produced in much larger quantities, act outside of cells within the digestive tract.
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and bacteria have more time to break down the food in the digestive system, there is increased fermentation and more gas is produced leaving your flatulent, burping and bloated.

Progesterone'sOne of the two naturally occuring female hormones (the other is estrogen) used to regulate and maintain the pregnancy. Produced first by the corpus luteum in the ovary, production is subsequently taken over by the placenta as it develops. During pregnancy a mother's production of progesterone ten times the level it was prior to conception. Progesterone and estrogen are responsible for giving many mothers a sense of tranquility, shiny hair and glowing skin.
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effect on the digestive system is why many women feel bloated during your menstrual period. As your pregnancy progresses the uterus will compress the digestive tract, further slowing digestion, creating more gas and increasing the feeling of bloating and heartburn.

Preventing gas during pregnancy

Different foods that cause gas, mostly sugars and starches, are digested and affect people in different ways. Some people are affected by a sugar called raffinose that is commonly found in asparagus, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Another sugar, fructose, is found in artichokes, onions, pears, many fruit and some sweetened fruit juices. Starches such as pasta and potatoes, and fibers such as oat bran can also cause gas. Wheat bran, which does get broken down and ferment, is an excellent source of fiber if you find that gas is a problem and you are not allergic to wheat.

Some people discover that they are lactose intolerant in pregnancy, a condition in which an enzymeA protein produced by the body's cells which catalyzes chemical reactions in organic matter. While most enzymes catalyze reactions within cells, digestive enzymes, which are produced in much larger quantities, act outside of cells within the digestive tract.
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called lactase is lacking making it impossible to digest milk. Fortunately there are excellent soy substitutes available in most supermarkets.

Obviously, if you plan to reduce symptoms of intestinal gas by avoiding all of these foods, you would miss a lot of essential nutrients. A good way to discover which foods affect you is by keeping tract of what you eat, and noticing how you feel afterwards. If you know which foods make you feel gassy, you can avoid eating them and find some relief.

There are some other things you can do during pregnancy to help prevent flatulence and burping. Most nutritionists recommend eating several small meals each day instead of a couple of big ones permitting your digestive system to work more efficiently. Avoid fatty or greasy foods which slow digestion making you feel bloated. Chew your food thoroughly, and don't talk while eating, which can let air enter the digestive tract. Avoid eating while lying down, even snacks such as candies or cookies. And don't suck on hard candy or chew gum! If you're buying gum or candy, make sure that it does not contain a sweetener called Sorbitol, which may make you prone to gas.

Drinking lots of fluid is important at any time, and especially during pregnancy, but try not to drink so much while you are eating. Avoid drinking out of a bottle, or through a straw, which can let air enter the digestive symptom and lead to burping. Carbonated drinks increase susceptibility to gas.

Tight clothes will increase a feeling of bloating. Try to exercise: a brisk twenty minute walk will stimulate your digestive tract and relieve gas and constipation. Exercise classes for pregnant women including yoga and Pilates will help you learn relaxation and breathing techniques that will stimulate both your digestion and teach you how to control the amount of air that enters the digestive tract.

Relieving gas during pregnancy

If you find gas is still a problem for you, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter anti-gas remedies. Look for tablets containing simethicone: tablets containing activated charcoal are not safe for use during pregnancy.


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