Tips and Tricks for Postpartum Gas and De-Bloating

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You’ve finally given birth, and besides the excitement of meeting your baby, it’s nice to feel a little lighter and to get some relief from those end-of-pregnancy aches and pains. But within a day or two, a new discomfort emerges: you are gassy, bloated, and it’s no fun at all.

Not everyone talks about this, but being gassy and bloated is a fairly common occurrence after you’ve had a baby. Some parents only experience a minor bout of it, but for some, it can be fairly debilitating.

“I didn’t even have a moment to process my new baby before being overwhelmed with intense cramps and intestinal discomfort,” Melinda Jameson, mom of two, and founder of SuperWAHM, shared. “In the weeks following, I faced major issues controlling my gas and I constantly felt like my stomach was going to explode—and I wasn’t even carrying a baby inside anymore.”

Thankfully, whether your symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe, there are things you can do to ease the discomfort of postpartum gas and bloating. Let’s take a look at what causes these symptoms—and importantly, what you can do to get some relief.

Potential Causes of Postpartum Gas and Bloating

After giving birth, your body goes through many changes—hormonally and physically. Not only that, but your activity levels change, your diet may change, and you may be taking certain medications and supplements that can change how your bowels work.

Here are some of the main causes of postpartum gas and bloating.

Constipation 

Probably the top contributor to postpartum gas and bloating is constipation, which is common after both vaginal and C-section births. Constipation can cause these symptoms because when your bowels don’t move, bacteria build up in your digestive tract, resulting in gas and bloating.

Johanna Allen, a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), APRN, MSN, of Viva Eve, says that postpartum constipation usually occurs from a combination of dehydration following pregnancy, lower intake of fiber, and being sedentary.

“The body is in a state of recovery after birth and has increased hydration needs,” she explains. “If you are breastfeeding, the body's hydration requirements are increased even more.”

C-Section Surgery

You might be more prone to gas and bloating if you’ve had a C-section, says Jennifer Wu, MD, an OB/GYN at Lenox Hill Hospital. “With surgery such as a cesarean section, the intestines can be slow to get moving afterward,” Dr. Wu describes.

This may be particularly true if your C-section was done under general anesthesia, says Dr. Wu. “Bloating and distension often occur,” she explains.

Pain Medication

Sometimes the pain medication you take following C-section surgery or to manage pain after a vaginal birth can slow down your digestion, leading to symptoms such as gas and bloating. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, any sort of anesthesia during childbirth or pain relief medications given to you after birth can slow your bowels. This can then lead to the telltale symptoms of gas and bloating.

There are several different options for postpartum pain relief and some may be more likely to cause gas and bloating than others. Speak to a healthcare provider about what alternatives might be available to you.

Supplements

If you lose large amounts of blood during childbirth, you will often be given iron supplements to build your hemoglobin levels back up, explains Dr. Wu. The problem is that these supplements can wreak havoc on your digestive system. “Iron does cause many digestive issues such as bloating and constipation,” Dr. Wu says.

If this is the case for you, you may consider asking your medical provider what other supplements or options are out there for you.

Vaginal/Rectal Tears And Pelvic Floor Injury

If you have experienced vaginal or rectal tearing following childbirth or if you’ve had an episiotomy, you may feel afraid to release your bowels, which can lead to constipation, gas, and bloating.

Additionally, if you had a vaginal or anal prolapse following childbirth, you could be experiencing increased rates of gas and bloating, says Alexis May Kimble, D.O., board-certified urogynecologist and medical director of The Kimble Center.

“Gas can be very normal after pregnancy and can resolve in the postpartum period,” says Dr. Kimble. “However, it could also be a harbinger of an unrecognized obstetrical anal sphincter, perineal, or vaginal floor injury.” Dr. Kimble recommends seeking medical attention if uncontrolled gas is persistent and can’t be relieved.

Remedies for Gas and Bloating Postpartum

Gas and bloating definitely stink (in more ways than one!), but the good news is there are lots of options for relieving your symptoms. We reached out to medical experts and postpartum parents for some tried-and-true advice.

Exercise

If you want to get your bowels moving and all that gas and bloating out of your system, you’ve got to get your body moving.

Of course, since you are recovering from childbirth, you will need to take it slow. “Try walking slowly around your house a little bit each day, paying attention to your body and discontinuing activity with any shortness of breath or dizziness,” Allen suggests.

You can talk to a healthcare provider about increasing this gradually, says Allen, and many postpartum parents may be able to take short walks just a few weeks after giving birth, which can help immensely with gas and bloating.

Yoga From the Hospital Bed

While you may not be cleared for extensive exercise in those first few days postpartum, that doesn’t mean you can’t move your body in small, but effective ways. Jenna Fletcher, a mom of three shared her best tip for relieving gas and bloating in the first few days after childbirth: gentle yoga.

“I had the worst gas after my last C-section,” says Fletcher. She says that the pain started the day after her C-section and wasn’t relieved with tactics like gas medication and extra hydration. The nurses at the hospital recommended movement, though, and that was the answer for Fletcher.

“They told me to move as much as I could,” she said. “Eventually I ended up doing cat/cow pose from yoga on my hospital bed and it got things moving.”

Up Your Fiber Intake

Since constipation is a strong contributor to gas and bloating during postpartum, many postpartum parents are encouraged to increase their fiber intake to get their bowels moving and decrease uncomfortable symptoms.

Jameson says that that was the key for her in terms of symptom relief. “My symptoms seemed to be aggravated anytime I would try to satisfy a craving with ice cream or cheeses,” she said. “So, I restricted my foods to things that could be digested easily, had a ton of fiber, and drank more water than I have in my entire life!”

Take Gas Medication

Doing things like increasing your fiber intake and avoiding gassy foods like beans and broccoli can help with gas, says Dr. Wu. But the truth is, sometimes the best way to relieve gas symptoms is to take medication, and there’s no shame in that.

Dr. Wu recommends Mylicon (brand name, Gas-X) for postpartum parents. According to Lactmed, a lactation and medication database sponsored by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the active ingredient in Mylicon (simethicone) is compatible with breastfeeding, as it doesn’t pass into breast milk.

Of course, whether you are breastfeeding or not, you should talk to a healthcare provider before taking any new medication.

Gas Removal Positions

Carrie Murphy, a doula and mom, was surprised by her experience with postpartum gas and bloating. “I was a doula for six years before I gave birth and the postpartum gas was one thing I had no idea about until I experienced it,” she says. “It was so annoying.”

Relief came for her from a combination of things, including gas relief medication and drinking tea. But she also found trying different body positions helpful. “I spent a lot of time with my legs curled up into my belly to release it,” she shared.

The position your body is in can influence your ability to pass gas effectively, according to research. Upright positions, exercising, squatting, and child's pose are all excellent ways to get that gas out of your body.

Warm Fluids and Heating Pad

Drinking warm fluids is a great way to help relieve constipation, gas, and bloating. This was key for Samantha Angoletta, a mom of four who experienced intense gas and bloating after giving birth. She shared that her gassy symptoms were the worst with her first child, which was her longest and hardest labor.

“The thing that helped me the most was drinking warm liquids—herbal teas, broth, and decaf coffee,” she said. Anything warm seemed to really help, she shared, including warm baths and using a heating pad.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Most instances of postpartum gas and bloating are typical and will resolve with the passage of time (and lots of gas!), and with a few interventions to get things cleared up. But sometimes gas and bloating can be indicative of a medical problem and will require medical attention.

Dr. Wu says that if your gas doesn’t seem to be able to move at all, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

“If there is no gas being passed postpartum, especially post-surgical and the bowel sounds are very quiet, this can be concerning for ileus or paralyzed bowels,” she explains. “Until things get moving again, the patient can be very sick.”

Another rare, but serious complication to watch out for is bowel obstruction, which can happen after surgery, says Dr. Wu. Symptoms of bowel obstruction include severe gas pains, constipation, vomiting, abdominal swelling, and the inability to pass gas. You should definitely see a medical provider if you have these symptoms, she warns.

A Word From Verywell

Postpartum gas and bloating can be absolutely uncomfortable and sometimes excruciating, but most cases clear up with time or with some simple remedies. Jameson urges new parents to keep things in perspective and have hope. “Be patient,” she says. “Giving birth takes its toll on your body, but the gassiness and bloating won’t last forever.”

Of course, if your symptoms aren’t resolving even with interventions, or your symptoms are severe, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider for guidance and help.

10 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Turawa EB, Musekiwa A, Rohwer AC. Interventions for preventing postpartum constipation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015;2015(9):CD011625. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011625.pub2

  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Bloating: Causes and Prevention Tips.

  3. University of Washington Medical Center. Preparing for Your C-Section,

  4. American Academy of Family Physicians. Recovering from Delivery (Postpartum Recovery).

  5. American Academy of Family Physicians. Recovering from Delivery (Postpartum Recovery).

  6. Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Rectal Prolapse.

  7. University of Rochester Medical Center. Common Conditions.

  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Simethicone. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).

  9. Cleveland Clinic. Paralytic Ileus.

  10. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Understanding an Intestinal Obstruction.

Additional Reading

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.