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Quit raising a stink over flatulence – it could matter to pregnant women

Submitted by on Saturday, 25 July 2009 No Comment

In some pregnant women, it hits in epic proportions and doesn’t let up for nine months.

Yes, I’m talking about gas. It’s another one of those dirty little secrets of child-bearing – one that’s right up there with colic in its scant number of mentions in the books. And why should authors dwell on it? If the books discussed all the things we find out on our own when we’re pregnant with our first, the human race would face extinction quickly.

Turns out, though, that prenatal gas might play a more important role in the reproductive process than merely embarrassing expectant mothers when they discover their newly prodigious output.

It also could signal the body when labor should begin – and not just because the baby says, “I’ve smelled enough. I’m out of here.”

Experts long have known that higher levels of the hormone progesterone relax smooth muscle tissue throughout the body during pregnancy, including the gastrointestinal tract. The relaxation slows digestion, which can lead to gas, bloating, burping and other miseries.

This week at the First International Conference on Hydrogen Sulphide in Biology and Medicine – I’m so glad they have an international conference for that now – a British doctor said that hydrogen sulfide produced by the placenta, uterine tissue and the amniotic sac during pregnancy also relaxes muscles

Dr. Ray Carson said he plans to continue his studies to see if there’s a connection between hydrogen sulfide and the start of labor, Medical News Today reported this week. The findings also could tell scientists more about early labor and pre-eclampsia, areas that aren’t well understood.

“It is possible that research on hydrogen sulfide could provide some insight into these areas,” he said.

There’s also non-pregnancy news on the hydrogen sulfide front. Also according to Medical News Today, a recent publication reported that mice lacking a key enzyme that produces hydrogen sulfide had high blood pressure.

I guess that adds credence to the old saying that if women don’t belch or pass gas, they have to complain or they’ll explode.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg.

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