During my second trimester with my second born, I needed to reach up into one of our kitchen cabinets to retrieve a glass sitting on a high shelf. As I stretched my arm overhead and extended up onto my tippy toes, I let out a roaring blast from my behind that startled both myself and my husband. This raunchy fart left my body so unexpectedly that I barely had time to process my embarrassment before my husband blurted out that the baby must not have liked something I ate. Guys, we need to talk about pregnancy farts. They're a thing.
Pages worth of replies from moms on Baby Center commiserate with women who post about the frequency with which they experience farts that are louder and stinkier than pre-pregnancy. One mom even calls her flatulence "humiliating," which is probably one of the best terms I can think of to describe this embarrassing pregnancy side effect.
The noxious fumes that pregnant women expel are actually totally normal. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women produce more progesterone than normal, which leads to increased muscle relaxation. This can cause digestion to slow by up to 30 percent, leading to an excess build-up of gas within a pregnant woman's body.
If you're reading this and have yet to experience the putrid punch of pregnancy farts, allow me to paint you a picture of exactly what it is that I'm talking about here. Imagine that you just ate a huge pile of raw broccoli and an entire plate of boiled cabbage, followed by a giant bowl full of refried beans from an authentic Mexican food joint, and washed it all down with a glass of milk. The rank gas that you will inevitably pass after ingesting such large amounts of food and beverages known to cause foul-smelling flatulence is nothing compared to a pregnancy fart. Nothing.
Another big issue with pregnancy farts is that they are terribly hard to hold in. In fact, during the later stages of pregnancy, it's downright impossible to disguise a pregnancy fart, much less keep it in your body. Everything inside of your body is being shifted around and squished together thanks to your ever-expanding uterus ,and containing the pressure of a pregnancy fart within the increasingly small space allotted for your bowels is probably not going to fly.
So, they're decidedly smelly and noisy, but is there an upside to pregnancy farts? In my humble opinion, a pregnancy fart may just provide a convenient way to clear a room or exit a conversation if need be. Is your husband watching a boring TV show and you really want control of the remote? Let one rip on the couch next to him and see how fast he decides he needs to tend to an urgent matter in another room. Does your mother-in-law give you unwarranted parenting advice while you're trying to enjoy a family get-together? Wield some potent pregnancy wind in her general direction as you excuse yourself from the conversation to "use the restroom." Trust me, it can be a powerful weapon.
Not every woman will experience the side effects of pregnancy in the same way or at all, but when it comes to flatulence during pregnancy, if you are lucky enough to be spared the wrath of tumultuous toots throughout your baby's gestation, consider yourself #blessed. But if pregnancy farts do happen to you, please know that you are absolutely not alone and the forces of nature that are blowing rancid air out of your bottom should subside once you give birth.