Why Are You So Bloated During Early Pregnancy? An Expert Explains

Early pregnancy is an exciting time. You’re gearing up for big changes in your life, and you’re about to begin a brand new adventure. Soon, a brand new little person will be in your life for you to care for and love forever. Along with the excitement, there are many, many early pregnancy symptoms — sore boobs, nausea, dizziness, gas, and bloating, to name a few. Fun times, right? But why are you so bloated during early pregnancy? Have you looked down and wondered how you could possibly be “showing” already, but your baby is the size of a poppy seed? Sorry to disappoint — that bump is probably just gas for now.

Why does this happen? Dr. Yvonne Bohn, OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, says the hormones in our bodies — both estrogen and progesterone — rise during pregnancy to maintain an environment in the uterus that is healthy for the baby. And unfortunately, these hormones also cause other not so ideal things to happen to our bodies. These hormones cause a “delay in the time our body digests foods, both in the stomach and in the intestines,” Bohn tells Romper in an email interview. “Because of this delay, water is reabsorbed from our stool, which causes constipation and the backup of stool and gas in our intestine, which leads to bloating and gas.”

Giphy

Confused as to whether you’re “showing” or if it’s a “bloat bump”? Bohn says most women don’t start to show until they’re 20 weeks along, unless she’s had a baby before. If this is a subsequent pregnancy, your stomach muscles may be looser from prior pregnancies. “The uterus is still below the pubic bone at 12 weeks, and gas during this time may make you appear to be much more pregnant,” she says.

If you’re not around 20 weeks along, and are feeling really uncomfortable, Bohn suggests drinking more water, increasing fiber in your diet, and movement and exercise to help get rid of uncomfortable belly bloat during early pregnancy. “All of these things increase the movement of the intestines and prevent back up,” she says.

Don't worry — this too shall pass and soon that bloat bump will be an actual baby bump. Try to relax, chug as much water as you can, and eat those veggies for fiber.