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Bloating in early pregnancy is extremely common; many women retain water or find that they have excessive gas during early pregnancy. There are a few different techniques that can help to prevent or relieve these symptoms. These include watching what you eat, eating smaller meals at a slower pace, getting some exercise, drinking plenty of water, and elevating your feet to prevent swelling in the ankles. The metabolism slows during pregnancy due to the increase of the hormone progesterone in the body, which in turn slows digestion, and leads to bloating and swelling.
The most important way to prevent bloating is to adjust your eating habits. First, consider the types of foods you eat, and begin avoiding the ones that cause bloating and gas. Fried foods and beans are two of the most common examples; some people find that onions tend to cause gas as well. In addition, to prevent water retention, avoid foods that contain a lot of salt. Potato chips and fried foods, again, are two of the worst culprits of bloating.
Rather than eating these unhealthy foods, try to maintain a diet made up of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein as much as possible. Drinking a lot of water throughout the day is another one of the best ways to prevent bloating in early pregnancy, even though it may seem strange to add liquids to the diet to relieve water retention. Try to avoid soda as much as possible as well, and doctors often recommend that pregnant women avoid consuming caffeine. When you are eating, try to eat small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals, and eat slowly without wolfing down the food.
Not only will eating regular small meals slowly help to prevent bloating, but it will also help to prevent blood sugar crashes that can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and moodiness. Getting exercise is another great way to prevent these symptoms; this can include gentle exercise such as walking, stretching exercises like yoga, or swimming in a pool, for example. Maintaining an exercise routine throughout pregnancy is very helpful for a number of reasons, not just to prevent bloating. Finally, if you do experience bloating in early pregnancy that leads to swelling in the legs or ankles, sit down and elevate your feet for a while until the swelling goes down.
@dfoster85 - Those are really good suggestions that have a lot of benefits besides just relieving gas and bloating in early pregnancy.
But the unfortunate truth is that you might not be able to avoid it 100%. I think pregnant women should give themselves permission to feel a little crappy! And work around it. If you want to, laze around the house in your husband's sweatpants. Or, better, treat yourself to a new outfit that is loose in the waist. Make sure it's something you can wear year-round, and that way you will be able to wear it again sometime after you have your baby.
Don't try to squeeze yourself into your pre-pregnancy clothes if it's uncomfortable. You'll make your morning sickness worse and the tight fit will make you feel more bloated.
One thing *not* to try to relive bloating and gas in early pregnancy is taking medication. Doctors used to routinely prescribe diuretics to pregnant women to help them clear water out of their systems faster, but these are dangerous in pregnancy. You need a lot of water!
It sounds counterintuitive, but drinking a lot of water really does help with swelling and bloating. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the more you drink, the more you pee. You flush out your system and keep it from holding on to too much water.
Exercise may be the last thing in the world you feel like doing, but try to make yourself - you will feel better! It doesn't have to be your usual routine, just get moving one way or another. You might like to find a prenatal exercise class or video so you don't feel alone in your discomfort!
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