Childcare and You

Childcare and You

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Postpartum Gas / Vaginal Gas – How Can You Rid Of It?

The most dominant feeling you get soon after childbirth is of intense relief from the grinding pain of labor. Other feelings follow in quick succession the moment you set your eyes on your baby. You hold your baby for the first time and experience an intense rush of love for your baby that makes all the anxiety, depression and pain you have experienced from pregnancy to childbirth, recede to the background.

However, you are now faced with an overwhelming challenge of your role as a new mother and you need all the resources you can get to help you play that role to your satisfaction. Postpartum problems like excessive bleeding, stretch marks, sleep, bowel movements, urine incontinence, digestion and flatulence are common and you must take adequate steps to get treated in order to gain sufficient strength to take care of your baby.

In my native village, a new mother undergoes the traditional postpartum care that lasts for six weeks after childbirth, based on the 5000 years old ancient science of Ayurveda that specializes in balancing the five elements of the human body, namely, earth, water, fire, air and ether. An imbalance in any one of the elements sends the bodily functions out of sync which is why, during the traditional postpartum confinement period, a new mother is treated with warmth, hot herbal oil baths, hot massages, special diet, proper rest and enough sleep, in order to balance her body elements, eliminate depression and keep her happy, which  gets transmitted to her baby, thereby enhancing the baby’s health, in the bargain.

A new mother is fed on a special diet that enhances her breast milk, contracts her uterus and pelvic passage, does not tax her digestion and balances her body elements. The ‘air’ element of the body, which is called “Vata” (Gas) in Ayurvedic terminology, is cold, hard and dry. Therefore, a new mother is served with warm, soft and wet foods that will balance the “vata”. Cold food is hard to digest and is not recommended as it creates gas and digestive disorders.

As a new mother, avoid cold food, cabbage, heavy meats, ice creams, refrigerated food, fermented food, sodas and hard cheese, for the first couple of weeks. Take plenty of liquids (preferably warm), fresh stewed fruits & veggies, garlic, fenugreek leaves/seeds, edible gum & dry nuts (Read post Postpartum Diet for Breastfeeding / Lactating Mothers – Special Recipes to Increase Your Milk Supply

 Drink a glass of hot (cow’s) milk with a tsp of ghee (clarified butter) added to it, before going to bed. Food cooked in ghee or sesame oil or olive oil is very beneficial for gas and smooth bowel movements.
Take s tsp of fresh grated ginger with a 1/2 tsp lime juice and a pinch of salt OR chew on a slice of freshly peeled ginger, in order to activate your digestive enzymes well. Eat your food when it is warm or at least at room temperature. Take your next meal at 3 hours after your previous meal in order to allow the food to digest completely. Always eat fruits alone as a snack, in order to get full benefit of its nutrients. Drink milk with a supplement of vitamin D for better absorption of calcium. Avoid taking milk with a meal. 

Garlic helps in digestion and preventing gas. Cook it with your rice, soups, stews, etc. Whole spices like cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, basil, thyme, oregano, nutmeg, tarragon, marjoram, coriander, ginger and turmeric are great for treating gas and aiding digestion. Powder the spices and add them to your dishes to enhance flavor.

Herbal tea made out of fennel seeds is well known for its anti-cramping and anti-spasmodic properties, in addition to promoting appetite, digestion and great relief from gas. This tea is gentle and safe and can be given even to your baby for relief from colic and tummy pain. It is also an excellent expectorant of mucus related to bronchitis, asthma, cough and colds.

Method for fennel tea

Take 2 tsp of freshly crushed fennel sees in a bowl and pour 1 cup of boiling water into it. Heat this mixture once again for about 5 minutes but do not boil it. Drink this tea thrice a day after a meal.

Carom seeds are also excellent for stomach disorders and gas. Use the same method of fennel tea and drink it after a meal or whenever you have pain from gas.

Sweet water lactation tea is an Ayurvedic concoction for enhancing breast milk, tissue repair, urinary issues, digestion and gas.

Method for Sweet water lactation tea

Powder 2 tsp of fennel seeds and 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds separately and then mix them together well.
Boil 4 cups of water and add 1 ½ tsp of the mixture for 5 minutes. Store it in a thermos and finish it in a day. This herbal concoction is excellent for flushing out your body toxins and gas.

Eating on time is also very crucial to avoid gas. Maintain a regular eating pattern. Eat slowly and chew well in order to avoid swallowing air. Gulping your food or eating hurriedly can cause air to go into your body and create gas problems. Any large meal can be eaten between 10 am to 2 pm, as your digestive enzymes are at its peak during that time. Do not overeat. The amount of food that you can hold by cupping both your hands is how much your stomach can hold. Overeating will make you feel sluggish and slow and overtax your digestive enzymes.
Passing of vaginal wind after childbirth occurs on account of air seeping into the vagina, as the pelvic passage gets loose soon after childbirth. It is perfectly normal to have vaginal gas for a few days after childbirth. After all, your vaginal passage has been stretched and pulled. Don't worry, it will go away after a few days. 

During the first week after the birth of my first child, I would pass vaginal wind, (felt more like air bubbles) whenever I shifted or moved around. It was embarrassing, more so, when it happened with other people present and I had no control over it. Using the postpartum belt soon after childbirth will help control vaginal gas to some extent. If you have had a vaginal birth, then lying on your stomach will compress your abdomen and push the gas out. In case of a C-section, you will have to wait until your incision has healed completely.

In my native village, as part of postpartum care, for a period of 3 weeks, a new mother is asked to sit with her legs stretched out in front of her and loop the first digits of both feet together, while lying or sitting up in bed, in order to stop air from entering through the vagina. She is also advised to avoid sitting cross legged as far as possible. The idea is to keep the vaginal area tightly sealed.

In addition to that, as a substitute to a panty,  a new mother uses a long piece of cotton cloth that is wrapped around her hip and the remainder of the cloth is gathered together to be pulled from between her legs and the ends are tucked into, behind her back. It is worn for the first 3 to 4 weeks after childbirth. In this way, the vagina is sealed off tightly, preventing any air from entering in. This method is said to provide great relief from the problem of vaginal air. Before wearing this loincloth, press a panty pad on your vaginal passage and then pull the cloth from between your legs to tuck it behind your back. The panty pad is for extra sealing of your vaginal passage.

While using the toilet, press a small, clean wad of cloth or pad against your vaginal passage to prevent air from getting in. Besides, it will also prevent undue pressure bearing down on your uterus during the early days after childbirth, especially if you are constipated.

Pour bearably hot water on your vulva every now and then, in order to help the loose muscles to contract back fast, thereby preventing vaginal gas. 

Practicing the Kegels exercise right after childbirth is very crucial to improve bladder control, prevent urinary incontinence, prolapsed uterus and most importantly vaginal gas issues. This exercise will help tighten your vaginal muscles, thereby preventing vaginal "fart", as it is sometimes called. Do this everyday for at least 5 minutes and see the difference. (Read Pregnancy - Top Exercises For an Easy Childbirth) to learn how to do the Kegels exercise. 

Do not use a tampon to seal your vaginal passage, especially when you are not menstruating, as the passage will be dry and cause great discomfort.

Please remember, if the above tips don't work and symptoms still persist, it would be wise to take a medical practitioner's advice.


  1. thanks so useful

  2. Really useful!!

  3. Great info, you feel embarrassed to bring up the topic with friends drs etc...

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  6. Excellent article ...very helpful for the new mommies!

  7. Good article as am new mum it helped me lot thanks for posting it

  8. i did not do my kegel excercises. it's past 3 months of my delivery and still have the problem of vaginal air. what should i do ???
    please help.

    1. I'm sorry for the delay in replying to your query. I was offline for a while on some personal work. Dont worry about not having started on kegel exercises right after your delivery. 'Better late than never". So get started on it right away. Dont worry if you still have vaginal air problem. It will go away eventually. Give yourself time. Meanwhile try not to still cross legged for at least a couple of months. Continue to nurse your baby for a year at least. Breast feeding helps contract your uterus and tighten pelvic muscles. It helped me. I'm sure it will help you. Most importantly, be a proud mother of your baby and enjoy the wonderful experience of motherhood.

  9. Hi,

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  10. Very useful blog.i am 4 weeks over afrer delivery. I have vaginal air problem. How can I cure it .Please give your valuable suggestions.

  11. Gud article... Nd yes, its well organised...

  12. Thanks for the useful information

  13. Thanks for the useful information

  14. Thanks for useful info, however wanted to ask ,what should be done if excess pain in rectum during bowel ?
    Caught cold?
    Excess gas formatiion n in baby too

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Madam,your article was very much useful.Last year I delivered my baby. Till now my belly is big and looks like as if i am 6 months pregnant.What can I do? Can you please post some excercises if there is any?

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