You’ve noticed a weird sensation of what seems like air bubbles coming out of your vagina while pregnant. What in the world is it and is it harmful to your baby?
Pregnant women sometimes experience vaginal gas (queefing) that is nothing more than trapped air in the vagina that makes a sound similar to flatulence when it exits. While this can happen to all women, the weakening of the pelvic floor makes it more likely during and after pregnancy. This gas will not harm you or your baby.
Read on to find out what causes vaginal gas as well as how to prevent it.
Air bubbles escaping while pregnant
When pregnant, lots of hormonal changes go on as your womb begins making a home to your new baby. Sometimes these changes can create embarrassing symptoms that you would never expect. Having the sensation of air bubbles coming out of the vagina can certainly catch you off guard.
More than likely, these air bubbles are just vaginal gas (also known as “queefing”). Vaginal gas is just simply trapped air in the vagina that makes a sound similar to passing gas out of the rectum when the air leaves the vagina. Many women, not just those who are pregnant, experience this in their lifetime, and while it can be embarrassing is not harmful.
One of the most common reasons for vaginal gas is having a loose pelvic floor which can be caused by pregnancy and childbirth. Doing exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor can help minimize queefing. If you believe the sensations you are experiencing are unrelated to vaginal gas, contact your doctor to determine the cause.
What is vaginal gas
Vaginal gas is one of those topics that is rarely talked about but can affect all women whether pregnant or not.
Vaginal gas occurs when pockets of air get trapped in the vaginal canal. It gets its name because when this air is unintentionally released it makes a sound similar to a flatulence sound or even sometimes makes a squeaking sound.
You may have heard it referred to by these names as well:
- Vaginal flatulence
Is vaginal gas dangerous
Vaginal gas is a completely harmless occurrence that will probably happen to every woman at some point in her life. It is nothing more than trapped air that has to come back out. While it can sometimes be embarrassing, it is typically not painful.
Sometimes vaginal gas can be confused with a venous air embolism which is what happens when air is blown into the vagina of a pregnant woman during oral sex.
This air blown into the vagina can travel into the fetal membranes and into circulation of the subplacental sinuses sometimes causing death to both the mother and fetus.
What causes vaginal gas
Vaginal gas occurs when air is trapped in the vagina. It is a completely normal occurrence that almost every woman will experience at some point or another.
Certain activities where things are inserted and removed into the vagina can cause air to get trapped up there.
Here are some things that can cause or contribute to vaginal gas:
- Sexual activity
- Inserting menstrual products such as menstrual cups or tampons
- Vaginal examinations
- Tight pelvic floor or pelvic floor dysfunction. Hormonal fluctuations (such as during ovulation or menstruation) can cause pelvic floor muscles to loosen and relax which can sometimes cause an increase in vaginal gas. Women with a tight pelvic floor may allow too much air to enter the vagina during physical activities like yoga where the body is constantly changing positions.
- Retroverted uterus
- Vaginal fistula
Is vaginal gas a sign of pregnancy
An increase in gas can be an early sign of pregnancy as your hormones affect the functioning of your bowels. So is that true for vaginal gas as well?
Vaginal gas isn’t really “gas” so much as it is trapped air in the vagina. And while hormonal changes can cause pelvic floor muscles to weaken which can lead to an increase in vaginal gas, this typically isn’t known as being an early symptom of pregnancy.
Vaginal gas during pregnancy
Pregnancy causes many changes to the body including hormonal fluctuations which can cause your pelvic floor ligaments to relax and stretch to accommodate the future delivery of your baby. Your pelvic floor is also strained from the weight of your growing baby.
All this stress can cause damage to your pelvic floor which unfortunately means you may be more prone to vaginal gas.
Just add it to the list of the ever-growing embarrassing symptoms that can come with pregnancy.
When should I worry about vaginal gas?
Vaginal gas can be embarrassing for sure but it usually isn’t worrisome especially if it only occurs every once in a while.
If the gas starts to occur with more regularity, there could be some underlying issues such as pelvic floor dysfunction or a vaginal fistula.
- Pelvic floor dysfunction – This occurs when you lose the ability to relax and coordinate the muscles that make up your pelvic floor. Women may experience pain during intercourse
- Vaginal fistula – A condition where the vagina has an abnormal opening or hole connecting to another organ such as rectum or bladder which allows urine or stool to pass into the vagina.
Relieving vaginal gas
Vaginal gas is completely normal and nothing to be embarrassed about.
Here are some ways to help reduce its occurrence:
- Sit backward on the toilet – This change in position (facing the back of the toilet) allows the vaginal canal to open up and naturally release any trapped air.
- Stay away from certain sexual positions – If you are prone to vaginal gas during intercourse, try switching it up and trying it from behind. Also changing positions too quickly during sex can increase the likelihood of queefing.
- Sync your breathing – A pelvic floor that is working correctly syncs with your breathing patterns so when there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure your pelvic floor will respond with increased tone. This basically means that any time you are about to engage in an activity to increase pressure on your abdomen (like certain yoga positions or getting off the table after a gynecological exam) it can be helpful to purposefully take a nice deep inhale and exhale allowing the muscles of your pelvic floor to constrict and relax to release any trapped air. Hopefully, this will prevent any embarrassing noises from squeaking out, pardon the pun.
Preventing vaginal gas
Perhaps one of the best ways to prevent vaginal gas is to work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.
Your pelvic floor can take a beating after childbirth and sometimes can take a concentrated effort to get “back in shape” after having a baby.
Here is some great information on how to both identify and exercise your pelvic floor muscles.