Throughout pregnancy, stomach problems are common. Part of studying and becoming a doula includes helping clients understand their bodies better and to distinguish if they are having contractions or maybe just gas. So, when you experience tummy troubles, you might find yourself wondering if it’s just gas pains. As pregnancy progresses, hormones can slow down the digestive process. As your baby grows and begins to squeeze your abdomen, most women experience gas, indigestion, and other tummy troubles.
Here are a few questions to ask to help you determine the problem.
- Is it regular? Contractions develop a rhythm and increase in frequency. On the other hand, gas pains will come and go, with an irregular rhythm that can’t be timed. Additionally, gas pains can be sharper pains, opposed to contractions which are similar to strong menstrual cramps.
- Are you experiencing any other problems? When in labor, there is a lot more going on than just pain. Look for other symptoms of labor.
- Have you eaten anything that could be causing gas? Because your growing baby is putting pressure on your digestive system, food can cause gas pains which are sometimes misinterpreted as contractions. Common causes include cauliflower, broccoli, and beans. If gas pains persist, try cutting out gas-inducing foods from your diet until after the baby arrives.
- Is your belly tightening? Gas pains cause a bloated feeling in your stomach, whereas labor pains include a muscle contraction across your abdomen. If you feel that your stomach tightens up every time you experience pain, you are most likely experiencing contractions and not gas pains.
- Can you get relief? Generally, gas pains are relieved after using the restroom or with the assistance of an antacid. If this is the case, it means that your baby isn’t ready to greet the world just yet.
Becoming a doula and a mother means more than just finding out the gender of the baby and knowing the difference between a broken water and a mucus plug. The more you know about what to expect during pregnancy, labor, and delivery the more prepared you will be. Get ready for the most rewarding job you’ll ever have!