Pregnancy and digestive issues go hand-in-hand. From morning sickness that strikes any time of day, to diarrhea that has you sprinting and indigestion that gives you dragon breath, uncomfortable issues stemming from your digestive system are common pregnancy side effects. But what about when labor starts? Can contractions cause gas? While you may be familiar with the problems that may crop up during pregnancy, once your body starts rocking and rolling, similar predicaments can occur.
Gas develops in your intestines as a normal part of the digestion process, according to the Mayo Clinic. Basically, anything that causes a disruption of your digestive system can cause excess gas to form. This includes everything from eating spicy foods to your body preparing to deliver a baby. During pregnancy, when organs begin to shift and hormonal changes happen, gas can build up and cause burping and farting to become commonplace throughout pregnancy, as well as during the labor process, according to Parents.
"It is not uncommon that the onset of labor is accompanied by lots of sensations in the intestines and frequent bowel movements," Megan Davidson, a Brooklyn-based doula and author of Your Birth Plan, tells Romper. "For many people, this is also the case during the cramps of menstruation, and similar hormonal and physical processes are often at work. For some people this can mean that contractions are accompanied by gas cramps and pressure, which can make it even harder to cope with labor."
Pregnancy hormones can cause your digestive system to slow. The increased amount of progesterone in the body that causes your muscles to relax in order to prepare your body for delivery can also weak havoc on your digestive system and cause gas to build up. When contractions start, that gas can be pushed through the intestinal tract.
If you think if was hard to hold in a putrid pregnancy fart, just wait until you're in the middle of a rough contraction and the need to pass some gas hits you. It is quite unlikely that you'll be able to contain the rumbling of a toot for very long at all. Contractions can feel different for each woman. From feeling a squeezing sensation to hardening of the belly, What To Expect reported that early labor contractions can also feel like gastrointestinal discomfort. This discomfort can actually be very real gas pains on top of labor pains. Ouch.
Gas pains during pregnancy are also reported to make some women feel as if they're experiencing contractions before the real event occurs, according to Parents. Because it can all feel similar, this can be truly confusing. It is always best to check in with your doctor if you feel like you may be in labor, as they will be able to help you determine what is actually happening.
But if you are truly experiencing gas during labor contractions, what can you do? Luckily there are a few relatively easy fixes that can help relieve gas caused by contractions. "Stretching and position change, a hot shower, not holding anything back (fart if you can!), and spending time laboring on the toilet can all help to relieve gas discomfort in labor," Davidson says. To top it all off, these tips can also help with the general feelings of discomfort that contractions can cause in your back, sides, and upper legs as well.
If you are looking for even more tips on how to relieve gas while you're experiencing contractions, you could also try one of these positions that real moms say relieved gas during pregnancy — just make sure to warn those around you first!