Is bloating a sign of pregnancy before a missed period? Intestinal gas is one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms that appear as soon as two weeks before a missed period.
Progesterone is a hormone of gestation. It increases gradually after 1 week of ovulation, preparing your body for conception. Here’s what happens:
- Progesterone causes weakening of smooth muscles including those of your gut, causing slow movement of food substances down the tract.
- This leads to bloating and constipation in extreme cases.
- Bloating in early pregnancy at 2 weeks or even 1 weeks is common in some women.
Abdominal gas may be accompanied by mild cramping, backaches and sometimes diarrhea in the first week of conception. These are just some of the very early signs of pregnancy before missed period.
Is bloating or gas an early sign of pregnancy?
One of the very early signs of pregnancy in the first week is bloating. Even though it can be hard for many women to distinguish early pregnancy bloating and period bloating, most of them find it normal to be bloated during these times.
But what causes gas after conception? Is being bloated before period a sign of pregnancy? Not always, but if accompanied by other pregnancy symptoms, it is likely to be a sign that will be followed by a positive pregnancy test.
High levels of progesterone after ovulation reduce contractions in the gut leading to bloating and accumulation of gas.
Bloating and gas after ovulation
Dr. Carrie Smith, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rush University says “Before menopause, for most women, bloating is a monthly occurrence and follows the pattern.”
The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle which falls after ovulation usually lasts almost two weeks. It is during this period that the abdomen lines itself for a possible pregnancy hence a lot hormonal changes occur.
Just immediately after ovulation, a hormone called estrogen remains relatively high paving way for progesterone which kicks in during the second week.
Research shows that when the hormone estrogen is high, most women retain water which in turn causes equal bloat. Progesterone causes slow movement of the food in the digestive tract resulting into bloating, gas and finally constipation.
Symptoms of abdominal bloating after implantation
Most common signs of boating right after implantation has occurred include the following:
- swollen abdomen (midriff)
- Regular belching
- Regular farting
- Abdominal thundering
- A general feeling of abdominal discomfort.
If caused by implantation, gas or bloating sign of pregnancy may be accompanied by other symptoms such as a light pink discharge before menstruation, mood swings, lightheadedness and mild cramping.
What causes bloating and gas in the first two weeks of pregnancy?
The cause of bloating in early pregnancy is the increased levels of hormone progesterone. This hormone causes smooth muscles to relax.
For pregnancy to carry on, it is crucial that you have this hormone in place until childbirth. Progesterone triggers gas, burping and bloating since it causes smooth muscles including those of the digestive tract to weaken.
- The muscle relaxation is what prompts nutrients to move gradually to reach the developing baby.
- However, the problem is that as this process takes place, your overall metabolism slows down causing bloating.
Other possible causes of bloating
While bloating is a common symptom of pregnancy in the first week to two, there is a chance your symptoms are caused by something else. Here are other reasons for stomach gas after implantation.
- Swallowed air: When you eat or drink in haste, you are likely to swallow air. Excessive chewing of gum similarly irritates your gut by sending the air down the digestive tract, which later causes bloating.
- Bacterial infections: The presence of harmful bacteria in the gut causes irritation leading to gas production hence bloating.
- Food intolerance/allergy: Some foods containing lactose such as dairy irritate the gut causing gas because your body sometimes develops resistance and inability to separate sugar from such foods.
Also, gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, often brings about abundance in stomach gas and flatulence.
- Constipation: Constipation is characterized by hard stools and inability to pass gas also leads to bloating and discomfort.
If your bloating is severe and lasts more than 3 days, see a doctor. The gas may not be a pregnancy sign or symptom in the first week or two weeks. Rather, it could be an indication of another illness.
How to relieve stomach gas in early pregnancy
Bloating is normal in early and throughout pregnancy because of the slowed digestion mechanisms. However here are tips to get relieve you from bloating.
- Modify your diet: Aim to eat foods rich in fibers which will help absorb water in the digestive tract to get food moving down the intestines
- Drink more water: Water simply keeps things moving down your tract to avoid constipation which in return triggers bloating. Additionally, water keeps you hydrated.
- Eat smaller portions: Do not overload your digestive system by eating larger meals. It is advisable that you eat smaller portions throughout the day which will be easily digested. Remember to steer clear off unhealthy snacking. Always get yourself off the couch.
Move around and take part in light exercises like rope skipping or walking. Exercise during this period will tone down your digestive tract muscles and help you eliminate gas. Walking at least 30 minutes daily will do you good.
- Avoid sugary foods: Exceeding the recommended 2-3 serving s of artificially sweetened foods and drinks per day can lead to bloating since sugar takes time to be broken down by the body.
- Limit Sodium: Sodium causes water retention when consumed at high levels. Processed foods mainly contain high sodium levels which might be the reason for a feeling of fullness in the abdomen.
- Avoid gas containing foods: Foods such as beans are an excellent source of protein but at the same time likely to cause you a lot of discomfort due to their gas producing nature.
It is important to cut down on other foods known to contain gas such as cabbage, onions, fried foods and sugary foods. You can always find alternatives to such foods and stay healthy all the way.
- Chew your food thoroughly to make it easily digestible
- Avoid chewing gum, causes you to swallow air causing gut irritation
- Avoid talking while eating, only causes you to take in more air.
Foods to avoid when having stomach gas
Some foods are known to cause or increase gas once ingested, here are just but a few common ones.
- Brussels sprouts.
Home remedies to get rid of bloating fast
You can easily get rid of gas at home by using specific solutions right from your kitchen. Here are some:
Mint contains menthol which has an antispasmodic effect enabling it to cause relaxation of the smooth muscles allowing you to pass gas quickly.
Likewise, it calms down the nerves to relieve abdominal tension. Peppermint goes a long way in mitigating and stirring stomach bloating. Add natural paper mint to a cup of hot water and drink once warm twice daily to treat gas and bloating. It is better if no sugar is added to this remedy.
2. Ginger Tea
A chemical compound found in ginger called gingerols is essential in unwinding the digestive tract and alleviate any symptoms.
Ginger teas made directly out the root works much better by dislodging gas in no time.Greate at least two medium sized crisps of ginger root and add to hot water with honey and lemon. Drink the mixture once warm, at least twice daily preferably after meals, to help you eliminate bloating.
Coriander is an excellent remedy for treating stomach upsets especially when it comes to burning sensations gas and treating indigestion.
- Add 1 table spoon of dried coriander leaves in a cup of hot water.
- Drink mixture once warm.
In extreme cases, you are advised to take as much of this solution as possible.
4. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds which are widely known to treat heartburn also set your stomach in place and help get rid of blazing sensations of gas and reflux.
Add a table spoon of fennel seed powder into a cup of hot, drink once warm. The oil contained in fennel seeds is essential in controlling flatulence.
5. Lemon water
It is true that a glass of lemon water each morning keeps your doctor away. Lemon has great properties, when taken in warm water it helps facilitate your gas torment by acting on the Hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Lemon also helps flush out toxins that might be building up in the digestive tract to cause bloating.
- Take 2-3 table spoons of lemon juice and add to warm water.
- Repeatedly drink until you feel better.
Cinnamon comes handy in preventing stomach gas and pain.
- Add a table spoon of cinnamon in hot water and mix it well
- Drink the mixture.
Alternatively, you can add a table spoon of cinnamon into a glass of milk together will honey, drink warm.
Bloating treatments available
Various treatments such as the ones below will help alleviate severe bloating:
- Fiber supplements: Drugs such as psyllium, when taken with plenty of water help control constipation. Research says that fiber obtained from food will cause more bloating than one from a supplement. Usually, a laxative is prescribed in cases where fiber supplements seem ineffective.
- Anti-Spasmodic: Drugs in this class help relieve abdominal pain. These medications, however, should be strictly taken under doctor’s prescription because their potential side effects can be fatal
- Charcoal tablets: Charcoal tablets help reduce the symptoms by absorbing the gas in the digestive system. Always inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications since charcoal can absorb such drug from your gut.
- Alpha-galactosidase: This is a dietary supplement used in alleviating bloating; it mainly helps in the digestion of carbohydrates.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are supplements available to help the growth of `good’ bacteria in the intestines. The friendly bacteria contribute to reducing bloating gas by eliminating harmful bacteria in your digestive tract.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
- Bloating (May 2016): http://www.webmd.com/baby/bloating
- Gas and gas pains (September 2014): http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gas-and-gas-pains/basics/treatment/con-20019271
- 3 Exercise during Pregnancy (May 2014): https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/exercise-during-pregnancy
- Understanding Pregnancy discomforts-Treatments (January 2013): http://www.webmd.com/baby/understanding-pregnancy-discomforts-treatment#1
- Beat bloats (June 2015): http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/digestive-health/Pages/beat-the-bloat.aspx