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Bloating during pregnancy: what can you do?
Posted 5 years ago by Lou
Having a child is often one of the most rewarding times in a woman’s life, although it can also be one of the most challenging. The hormonal and physical changes which occur throughout pregnancy can lead to a whole range of health concerns, and one of the most common symptoms experienced by mothers-to-be is bloating during pregnancy. If you are wondering about some natural options to combat bloating during pregnancy read on.
Throughout pregnancy the uterus expands to allow for growth of your baby and can cause increased pressure on the surrounding organs in the abdomen above. For this very reason eating large meals will put extra strain on the digestive organs and the digestive system as a whole. Eating small regular meals is a great way to combat bloating during pregnancy as it reduces the amount that the digestive system needs to deal with at any one time. Some good snack options may be:
- A small bowl of nourishing home made soup
- A handful of raw nuts and a piece of fruit
- A boiled egg and some raw veggie sticks
Small and regular meals rich in nutrients are more easily tolerated when it comes to eating during pregnancy rather than a few big heavy meals and can help to balance blood sugar levels - giving you more stable energy throughout the day. So listen to your body at meal times and watch for signs of overeating.
Need some inspiration when it comes to eating healthy? Have a look at top ten healthy foods.
How you eat your food is just as important as what you are eating whilst pregnant. Don’t just gulp down each bite of food but slowly and mindfully chew each mouthful. Some top tips to help you slow down your eating may include:
- Chewing each mouthful slowly and mindfully
- Sitting down to eat rather than on the run
- Avoiding eating in front of the television or computer
- Preparing your homemade meals rather than buying them out
- Taking time out between mouthfuls and putting down your knife and fork throughout your meal
Avoid any food triggers
If you have underlying food intolerances, your reaction will be exacerbated during pregnancy. So if you know that wheat or chilli or high sugar foods have caused you to bloat in the past, it is best to replace these foods with ones you know don’t cause bloating. Unsure of what foods trigger bloating for you? Try keeping a food diary to help you identify what you may be reacting to. For instance, we all know that when it comes to wind and bloating, that beans are the ‘musical fruit’ but there are other foods and drinks which common cause bloating. Fizzy drinks, caffeine, beans and lentils, cabbage and onions, foods high in sugar and gluten containing foods such as wheat are some common culprits which can cause increased gas production (and therefore increased bloating!).
Soaking your beans and lentils over night and rinsing them before cooking can take the 'gas' out of beans!
Eating a small amount of bitter foods can also give the digestive system a helping hand during pregnancy and can stimulate the digestive process. Not only will you be absorbing more of the nutrients and vitamins in your foods but improving digestion will have a positive effect on bloating. Some great natural bitters which can be incorporated into your diet may include ginger (which is also great for pregnancy-related nausea), bitter salad leaves such as rocket and radicchio, and the humble lemon juice in hot water half an hour before meals can also be a great addition to your routine.
Pregnancy is a very dynamic and transitional time for mothers and becoming more in touch with your body will make it much easier to decide what works for you and what is best to avoid during pregnancy.
For more tips on reducing bloating during pregnancy read this article by Natalie McAdam on Pregnancy & Bloating. There are also many more great natural remedies for bloating - apart from the herbs these are all fine during pregnancy - so take a look.
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