Bloating in Early Pregnancy

Bloating in Early Pregnancy

Bloating in early pregnancy is not a very uncommon thing to experience. Lets find out the different reasons and remedies to pregnancy bloating.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Jun 15, 2018
pregnant woman
During early pregnancy, a woman experiences a number of symptoms such as breast tenderness, morning sickness, food cravings, constipation, edema, tiredness, mood swings, etc.
The main reason behind these pregnancy symptoms are the hormonal changes that take place inside a woman's body when she conceives.
Women tend to bloat in the initial weeks of their pregnancy. But, bloating surprises a lot of women as it makes them look several months pregnant in the early stages itself. It gives the feeling of discomfort too. So why does this happen? Bloating is caused due to a lot of reasons during early pregnancy. It is probably the first thing that comes to notice.
Causes of Bloating
Swelling of the Uterus
During our monthly period, the endometrium grows, thickens and tears off during our menstrual flow, as no fertilization has taken place. In the initial stages of pregnancy, the same thing happens, except that the endometrium thickens more than it usually does. In this process, large amounts of blood is sent to the uterus. 
This forces the heart to work faster, thus keeping the flow of blood very high. Due to the same reason, the uterus swells and occupies more pelvic space, causing the feeling of an unnatural accumulation in the lower abdomen. This phenomenon is one of the reasons for bloating.
Constipation
Constipation has a huge scope of occurrence during pregnancy. It can be the major reasons for bloating. What happens is that when a woman conceives, the body releases a hormone, known as progesterone, in excess. An excess of progesterone in the female body helps in softening the muscles and ligaments, so they can expand to accommodate the growing baby.
Softening of the muscles is essential for normal childbirth too. When the muscles, especially those in the intestinal region, become soft and lax, it slows down the digestive process. Due to the slowdown, the food stays in the intestine for a longer period of time. This helps the fetus in the womb to educe all the nutrition from its mother's meal course.
The fetus also extracts water, which in turn, dries the stools of the mother. The stools then take more than required time to reach the rectum. This causes constipation in the pregnant woman, resulting in severe bloating during early pregnancy.
Increase in Weight
Nurse weighing pregnant woman
Pregnant women generally tend to put on weight because they get on to a high nutritious healthy diet, along with vitamin supplements. They tend to overeat as they have food cravings. The physical activities are on low, as they are advised to take more rest and get more sleep.
Therefore, greater food intake with barely any physical activity leads to weight gain. This gives them a very chubby and bloated feeling, creating discomfort.
Gas
As discussed earlier, pregnancy gives rise to the level of progesterone in the body. Progesterone is a hormone that relaxes the gastrointestinal tract, along with the other muscles in the body. The positive benefit of such happening is that, it helps in stretching the pelvis for the baby to pass through during delivery. 
While the flip side is, the process of digestion takes place at a very slow pace due to this. It sometimes causes the stomach acids to pass back into the throat, resulting in heartburn and gas. This mostly happens if the pregnant woman eats fatty or spicy food, overeats or increases her caffeine intake, leading to indigestion.
Remedies
● To minimize bloating, it is very essential that a woman takes extreme care while selecting the foods to be included in her daily diet.
pregnant woman
● To get rid of bloating caused due to constipation, intake of fiber rich foods such as prunes, prune juice, cereals, green vegetables and fruits is recommended.
Pregnancy exercise
● Pregnancy exercises and yoga help in getting rid of constipation too, as they increase bowel movement.
● Avoiding gassy food like broccoli, cabbage, soda, aerated water, beans, chewing gum, alcohol, etc., is necessary.

● Eating slowly is important because while swallowing our food quickly, we tend to swallow a lot of air along with it.

● Smoking is to be avoided at all costs.
pregnant woman
● A pregnant woman needs to wear maternity clothes or anything that is loose enough, especially around the waist.
● One needs to divide the meals into six small portions, instead of having two or three big meals.
Happy pregnant woman
● Drinking herbal teas like fennel, ginger, peppermint, etc., can be very helpful.
● Chewing of cardamom seeds is a fantastic natural remedy for gas.

● One can have caraway seeds after meals, as it relieves bloating.

● Ginger and honey also help in reducing belly bloat.

● Increasing the intake of water and other fluids, is a must. It helps in curing indigestion and gas.
● If bloating is due to irritable bowel syndrome, a pregnant woman should avoid foods rich in oil and fats.

● Sleeping with a slight elevation towards the head, helps in preventing stomach acids from leaking back into the esophagus.
Bloating in early pregnancy is a very normal phenomenon. However, if bloating gets severe by the day and is accompanied by stomach cramping and pain, it is recommended to consult a doctor for proper diagnoses.