Pregnancy is a Gas

Many pregnant women find themselves in the embarrassing situation of being rather gassy. It is among the less-than-pleasant things that happen during pregnancy thanks to an increase in hormones. And sometimes you just have to laugh it off and say pregnancy is a gas.

Being pregnant and then giving birth makes women intimately aware of their bodies in ways they have never experienced before. In many cases, the process of having children strips away modesty and welcomes a host of seemingly horrifying things that come from your body. While you may not hear much about it from your veteran mom friends, most moms have gone through it in varying degrees and you should take comfort in knowing that it is all completely normal.

Understanding you’re not alone may not take away the embarrassment of passing gas in public, however. That’s when you have to put on your bravest new mom face and remember pregnancy is a gas. If you can laugh off pregnancy gas, you are on your way to being a great mom because there are so many times when you have to swallow your pride and let it go. In this case, we mean this quite literally!

Causes of Pregnancy GasPregnancy is a Gas

Like many of the miraculous and torturous aspects of pregnancy, hormones are to blame. During pregnancy your progesterone levels increase, which relaxes all of the muscles in your body including your intestinal muscles. This slows the digestive process by up to 30%. Delays in digestion cause the build-up of gas in the body, making you feel bloated and increasing burping and flatulence.

If that’s not bad enough, as your uterus grows throughout pregnancy, it puts pressure on your intestines and slows digestion even further. You guessed it, more gas!

Then, if you get constipated, a common side effect during pregnancy, gas can increase as well because food and waste are sitting in your body even longer than normal. Food choices and prenatal vitamins, especially those high in iron, can cause constipation.

Dealing with Pregnancy Gas

If pregnancy gas is really bothering you due to discomfort or embarrassment try these methods for curbing some of your gas:

  • Chew your food thoroughly to allow both your teeth and the enzymes in your saliva to help break it down before it gets to your stomach and intestines. This pre-digestive process can prevent gassiness.
  • Drink plenty of water to aid digestion and avoid constipation. Experts recommend 10 8-oz. servings per day during pregnancy.
  • Watch your diet and avoid foods that tend to make you gassy. Unfortunately, many healthy vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and spinach can contribute to gas. Weigh the options or consider the time of day you eat these foods before completely eliminating them from your diet.
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day to allow your body time to process them fully.
  • Exercise helps circulate oxygenated blood to improve digestion and decrease constipation.
  • Try natural digestive aids like ginger and mint, which you can add to your food or drink in tea.
  • Eat more fiber to avoid constipation.
  • Don’t drink from a straw. Swallowing more air may lead to gas.
  • Avoid tight clothing on your abdomen because it might trap gas.
  • Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to use a stool softener or heartburn medication to reduce flatulence and burping.
  • Develop coping techniques for stress and anxiety like deep breaths. Swallowing too much air under pressure can contribute to gassiness.

Sources: Romper, American Pregnancy and Healthline

 

Your Feet during Pregnancy

pregnant feet__1453482885_108.89.137.58So much is changing about your body during pregnancy – from your head all the way down to your feet.  While we tend to notice facial changes and a growing baby bump, many new moms aren’t expecting changes to their feet.  But it is very common for several things to happen to your feet during pregnancy.  We’re taking a closer look at these changes today.

Your Feet May Swell During Pregnancy

Pregnancy edema is quite common, especially in your feet.  This prenatal swelling occurs due to the additional blood and fluids that accumulate in your body as you nurture your growing baby.  As it grows larger, your uterus puts pressure on pelvic veins and the vena cava that returns blood from the lower part of your body back to your heart.  This build-up of pressure can cause swelling in the feet, toes and ankles.  Swelling can be worse at nighttime or in hotter weather conditions.  Because pregnancy edema can be painful and may be a sign of larger complications, the best thing to do is prop your feet and try to relieve some of the immediate swelling.  Also, be sure not to wear clothing that is too tight and don’t stand or sit for extremely long periods of time.  Normal pregnancy swelling of the feet usually subsides quickly after childbirth.  So those tootsies of yours won’t look like giant sausages forever!

Your Feet May Grow During Pregnancy

Anecdotally, you may have heard that your feet will grow during pregnancy and not return to their previous size.  Well, it’s more than just an old wives tale for many new moms.  Scientific studies prove that women do have longer feet and smaller arches after childbirth, especially first time moms.  On average, women’s feet grew 0.1 to 0.4 inches and their arches decrease too.  For some women, feet changes are so drastic they have to buy new shoes after having a baby.  The cause of foot growth during pregnancy may be the increased hormones that loosen ligaments to accommodate the extra weight and strain of pregnancy on the body.  These may never tighten to their normal range and therefore leave feet longer.  Also, weight can put pressure on arches and permanently flatten them.  While it may be slightly expensive, we can’t think of a better reason to go shoe shopping!

Your Feet May Be Dry During Pregnancy

Dry skin occurs in some pregnant women due to hormonal changes.  This can affect all areas of the body, including your feet.  Dry feet from pregnancy can be exacerbated by exposure to the sun or cold weather.  Usually dry skin is not a sign of any problems during pregnancy although some women develop pruritic urticarial papules and plaques (PUPP) that are marked by itchy patches of red raised bumps.  Topical medication can help soothe this type of skin rash during pregnancy.  Dry skin may be a sign of dehydration, which is not healthy during pregnancy (or any other time of life) and can lead to preterm labor.  If you notice dry skin on your body or feet, be sure to drink lots of water and use a daily moisturizer on your feet.  Better yet, go for a foot massage and let someone else rub cool lotion on your feet for awhile!

Many things are changing in your body and your feet are no exception.  While some pregnancy symptoms are less than pleasant, keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll make it through with a bundle of joy at the other end of the rainbow.

Explaining Pregnancy Symptoms to your Partner

Explaining Pregnancy Symptoms to your PartnerMoms-to-be often feel lonely during pregnancy.  Their once partner in everything can no longer share the same experience – carrying a child is left only to mothers.  That’s not to say men don’t have feelings and changes don’t occur in their lives during pregnancy.  However, their bodies are not biologically changing in the way that expectant moms are.  Explaining pregnancy symptoms to your partner may be a daunting task but its important to bring your partner into the inner circle of your pregnancy experience.  He may know it all too well already as the recipient of some hormonal behavior, but nonetheless, discussing pregnancy symptoms should be a healthy part of sharing this new adventure in your lives.

But how do you go about explaining pregnancy symptoms to your partner?  Break it down symptom-by-symptom and come up with relatable analogies.  Here are a few to get you started:

Pregnancy Nausea:  Although it is called “morning sickness,” pregnancy nausea can strike at any time of day and may not result in vomiting.  Nausea includes a range of feelings from an upset stomach to heartburn.  Many women compare pregnancy nausea to feeling hung-over or having a stomach bug.  Nausea can cause lethargy, change in appetite and a foul mood.  Not allowing the body to get hungry often helps new moms curb their nausea so partners can help by offering food and drink periodically.

Fatigue:  Especially during the first trimester, expectant moms tend to be extremely exhausted.  Her body is changing in many ways to prepare for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.  Simple tasks like making meals and grocery shopping can wear her out as if she just did strenuous exercise.  New moms and their partners should try to keep things simple to let her rest as much as possible.  Partners can offer to take on some of mom’s responsibilities until she has more energy.

Growing Breasts:  Sensitive breasts are often the first symptom of pregnancy a woman experiences.  With the onset of many extra hormones, breasts enlarge to prepare for pregnancy and eventually breastfeeding.  Breasts are tender and often sensitive to the touch as if they were bruised or sore.  Usually breast size increases in the first trimester, slows in the second trimester and may grow a little more towards the end of the third trimester.  Pregnancy is a great time to buy nursing bras.  Partners can surprise the new mom in their lives with a selection of comfortable and stylish nursing bras in her new size.

Gaining Weight:  Gaining the normal 25-35 lbs. during pregnancy can be scary for women.  In a weight conscious world, packing on this many pounds in just 9 months may not make her feel good about herself and she may fear she is unattractive to her partner.  Typically the baby is 6.5 to 7.5 lbs, water weight is around 3.5 lbs, extra blood is 3 lbs, the placenta is 1.5 lbs and breasts are around 1 lb each.  The rest of the pregnancy weight gain is a woman’s body storing fat and energy for pregnancy and beyond.  Partners should help moms-to-be eat healthy meals but also remind her that she’s always beautiful.

Baby’s Movements:  Around the 15th week of pregnancy, expectant moms begin to feel their baby’s movement.  It begins as a flutter and will progress to more distinctive punching, kicking and flipping movements.  Some moms may feel their baby’s hiccups as well.  All of this may feel like a circus inside her belly.  When the movements are larger, moms can share the experience with their partners by letting them feel the movement on her belly.  As the baby gets bigger you can often see ripples across the abdomen as well.

Contractions:  This one is the doozie that may be most difficult to explain to your partner.  Luckily, contractions are short-lived and the light at the end of the tunnel is your precious baby.  Contractions are more closely related to cramping, like stomach cramps, gas pains or a severe muscle spasm.  Unfortunately, it may take hours for relief to come as the baby may not be ready to make an appearance.  Partners can help during contractions by being supportive, keeping moms calm, performing breathing exercises with her and distracting her.  Once early labor signs begin, partners should jump in and be ready to take on all responsibilities, including childcare for other children, calling the OB and getting mom to the hospital.

Partners may not be able to empathize with pregnancy symptoms but they can certain sympathize and support you along the way if you keep an open dialogue about how you are feeling.  They may not know the exact right things to say or do, but with love and support, you can work through the journey together.

Excess Saliva during Pregnancy

Of all the amazing and bizarre changes that occur when you’re expecting, you may be surprised to know that it is common to have excess saliva during pregnancy.  This condition of having more saliva than usual is known as ptyalism or sialorrhea.  While having excess saliva during pregnancy may feel uncomfortable, it does not pose a medical threat to expectant moms or their babies.

Saliva is necessary for several important purposes, which may be even more helpful during pregnancy.  We typically produce 1.5 quarts of saliva daily, which has essential enzymes that help us digest our food and neutralize acidity in the body.  Moreover, saliva has antibacterial and antiviral properties that help fight of infections, especially those of the teeth and gums that are more prevalent during pregnancy.  And saliva helps lubricate the mouth, of course.

Ptylaism is usually worse in the first trimester and often subsides as moms-to-be enter their second trimester.  But for some, excess saliva persists throughout pregnancy.  There may be several causes for this condition, including hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, and is commonly associated with an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and heartburn.

Excess Saliva during PregnancyNausea can contribute to excess saliva during pregnancy because it tends to decrease the urge to swallow.  This results in extra saliva production.  Vomiting often leads to extra saliva too as the body attempts to compensate for dehydration.  Also, heartburn caused by the rise of gastric acid from the stomach through the esophagus may trigger excess saliva during pregnancy as a mechanism to try to counterbalance the acidity.

If you suffer from excess saliva during pregnancy, there are a few tricks to dealing with the problem:

  • First, try to swallow the saliva if possible.
  • If you feel it is too much to swallow, spit it out.  Drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration.
  • Eating water-based fruits, vegetables and foods can help as well, and try sucking on ice cubes if drinking is difficult.
  • Suck on mints or other hard candies or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Brush teeth often and rinse with mouthwash.
  • Avoid eating foods that will cause you to salivate, such as spicy or sour foods.

Excess saliva during pregnancy can be uncomfortable but it is manageable.  Hang in there and know that this, and all of your other pregnancy symptoms, will eventually subside.

Are You Experiencing Early Signs of Pregnancy? Learn When to Take a Pregnancy Test

Are You Experiencing Early Signs of Pregnancy? Learn When to Take a Pregnancy Test

Sure, a missed period or two is a strong indication that a pregnancy test is in order, but what about other pregnancy signs you might be missing? If you’re trying to conceive, pay attention to these body cues, because they’re common signs of early pregnancy.

Sore breasts are one of the biggest indicators of pregnancy. Your middle section is not the only area of your body that undergoes drastic changes during pregnancy (hello, baby bump!); your breasts will feel tender and swell during your first weeks. As your pregnancy progresses, you can expect your breasts to grow at least two sizes by delivery. Hormones surge into your breast tissue and prompt growth in preparation for breastfeeding, so make sure you’re wearing comfy bras with room to grow into (like Loving Moments nursing bras!).

Another early pregnancy sign is feeling like you have a perpetual case of the Mondays—extreme, hard-to-shake fatigue. Your first trimester will be the most exhausting one of your pregnancy, so don’t be alarmed if your urge for an afternoon nap turns into a quick snooze on your desk. Make sure to rest as much as possible and keep a good bedtime schedule to combat sleepiness. You can expect to feel a surge of energy return during your second trimester, but don’t cut corners on sleep if you can help it, because once your little one arrives, your opportunity to nap will be replaced with caring for your infant 24/7.

Morning sickness is a true misnomer; this early pregnancy sign should have been named “feeling nauseous at anytime” sickness. It’s true that many pregnant women report feeling ill in the morning, but morning sickness can sneak up anytime, day or night. Feeling consistently ill when you’re not exhibiting signs of the flu is a definite pregnancy sign. Calm your stomach as best you can with saltines, ginger ale, and other mild foods. If you continue to experience morning sickness past your first trimester, touch base with your doctor to make sure that you’re gaining enough weight for your pregnancy.

Are you currently experiencing any of these pregnancy symptoms? If you are feeling more sore, tired, or queasy than usual, consider your cycle and head to your local pharmacy to get some answers.