Despite it being a postpartum symptom that many new mothers are familiar with, postpartum gas and bloating are some of the lesser talked about topics. Many women experience gas during their pregnancy, however, this is a symptom that is commonly carried to the postpartum recovery phase as well.
The best way for a woman to deal with postpartum gas, pain, and bloating is by first understanding why it is happening. Based on those reasons mothers can find an appropriate treatment method.
Is postpartum gas normal?
Since postpartum gas and bloating are heavily linked to your digestive tract and disrupted bowel movements, it is not uncommon for new mothers to experience these symptoms alongside everything else that is happening with their body that is getting used to life after birth.
During and after birth, whether it was vaginal or a c-section, your body goes through a lot of changes. Since the body is changing in so many ways at such a rapid speed, it’s no wonder why certain symptoms such as gassiness may be heightened.
Symptoms of postpartum gas
Some of the most apparent signs that you’re going through postpartum gas is that accompanying the flatulence or farting you can also experience:
- abdominal cramping
- sharp abdominal pain
- knotted feelings
There are a variety of reasons why you may be experiencing postpartum gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and irregular bowel movements during your postpartum recovery period.
The most common causes of this situation are the following:
Pelvic Floor Damage
One of the biggest reasons why women are prone to experiencing postpartum gas is due to pelvic floor damage. During labor, the pelvic floor muscles work extra hard. While you’re pushing in the case of vaginal delivery, it is possible to stretch and even tear the anal sphincter muscles, which in turn causes the pelvic floor to be weakened.
When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, it can lead to various changes such as:
- loss of control over gas
- anal leakage
- bowel urgency
- loss of control over a liquid stool
A side effect of constipation, which is also a frequent postpartum symptom, is that gas gets trapped and can become very painful. This causes abdominal discomfort and leads to bloating and irregular bowel movement.
Episiotomy is a procedure that happens during labor, where the doctor cuts the area between the vaginal opening and anus to prevent tearing. This results in weakened pelvic floor muscles and the inability to control gas. Especially the first few days until the area starts to heal and recover.
Diet & Lifestyle
If you notice the postpartum gas is lasting longer than a few weeks, this could indicate that the issues may be a result of your diet and lifestyle. Several foods can have an impact on the amount of gas that is produced in the body.
Diets that contain a high amount of fructose, lactose, sorbitol, or soluble fiber improve the chances of gas development.
Some of those foods include:
- processed foods
- dairy products
- whole grains
In terms of treatments, there are several options that can be considered, which come in the form of supplements. Depending on the case, these could be stool softeners, supplements that help break down food, enzyme support, or waste and gas capturing solutions.
Apart from supplements, one of the best practices for treating postpartum gas is doing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Dealing With Gas Pain After C-Section
Gas pain is a recurring complaint also from mothers who have gone through a c-section. In this situation, it is recommended to put a hold on iron supplement intake, since this commonly causes constipation which leads to trapped gas. Some painkillers have also been shown to cause constipation, so switching that up might be helpful.
Along with that, you can try to implement more activities such as walking, doing the cat-cow pose, lifting your knees, and even massaging the belly in a clockwise motion.
There are several home remedies you can try to get your bowel movements back on track and minimize postpartum gas. For the most part, when treating postpartum gas naturally, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Change your lifestyle & diet
- Drink plenty of warm liquids
- Get enough rest
Gas is a common symptom that occurs during pregnancy and is carried into the postpartum phase as well. Some of the most frequent causes of gas and bloating are constipation, diet, pelvic floor damage, and episiotomy. Treatment is usually in the form of supplements, depending on the specific case. However, an essential treatment here is also doing exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Even if you do not give birth vaginally, it is possible to experience postpartum gas and pain. In this case, it is recommended to limit iron supplements and look into painkillers that do not cause constipation. It is also possible to try several home remedies, from drinking warm liquids to eating prunes.