In the immortal words of my 6-year-old, pregnancy can cause a wicked case of "tooty booty." Ah, yes, the black cloud of pregnancy. The ol' clothespin for the nose time of necessity. Way fun, right? But exactly why do you fart more during pregnancy? Is your baby just pushing all that pent up gas out, or is there more to it that science can explain?
Let's be honest, it isn't just farting, either. It's your whole dang digestive system that seems like it's taken a turn for the worse. You're burping like a trucker after six beers, and honestly? Things maybe aren't moving as quickly as they once did in the bathroom department. According to the Mayo Clinic, early in your pregnancy you can blame it all on your good buddy, progesterone. The dump of progesterone into your system early in your pregnancy helps you nurture and maintain your pregnancy, and it also slows your digestion down to the pace that rivals the time between when you ask your child to do something and when it actually gets done. This causes an excess of gas, and because it has all this time just hanging out with your waste, it's ... ripe.
One hilarious story to this account on Babble was titled "I Woke My Husband Up With the Smell of My Farts." Seriously, a round of applause for the writer because, you know what? Your husband isn't busy designing the next generation inside of him. Nope, he's just sleeping. You know, that thing you used to do before taking up a crash course in infant architecture.
But that's not the only reason why you fart more during pregnancy. (And you totally shouldn't be ashamed of it.)
I spoke with gastroenterologist Dr. Andre McNair, MD, and he says that excess gas and farting during pregnancy is as common as pregnancy itself. He tells Romper, "Your body begins to release hormones that cause major parts of the abdomen to contract, including the colon." This causes the forced expulsion of the excess gas built up by that dang progesterone, causing your body to turn into a literal crap show. You could basically enter a frat party fart contest and be the only one (hopefully) who doesn't fill your pants. Small mercies. (I'm paraphrasing.)
But McNair adds, "You're also working with a slower digestive system when you're pregnant, so the food has more time to create gas, and more time to hang out in the colon, often causing both discomfort and a noticeable increase in odor than at other times in your life." As for relief, he says that some over-the-counter gas meds like Gas-X are safe, but it's best to learn what foods make it worse, and avoid those triggers. Also, spend a lot of time walking, as it may help move things along.
Although you totally shouldn't be embarrassed, Healthline noted there are some precautions to take if you're not wanting to be in the business of entertaining tween boys at their next sleepover — or if the gas and bloating are becoming uncomfortable. Watch the kinds of veggies and foods you eat — cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts produce sulphur when they break down in the digestive tract, which makes gas worse and smellier. Also, drink plenty of water as it aids the digestion and keeps things headed in the right direction. Squats also help speed up a slow tummy. I guess it's like shaking a ketchup bottle to get all of it out — brute force.
If it gets too uncomfortable or too embarrassing for you to deal with, call your provider. You won't be the first flatulent Franny they've dealt with, and you won't be the last.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries: