Packing your hospital bag to have a baby? Then you must add one more item to the list – chewing gum.
Not only is it good for hospital breath, now experts have found a much more important reason to pack gum.
It's been discovered that new mums who give birth by caesarean section should chew gum for about 30 minutes three times a day after the operation to help restore normal gut function.
With around one in five women diagnosed with a condition called post-operative ileus, after a caesarean section, it means many women's normal bowel movements slow or stop entirely.
Study author Dr Vincenzo Berghella, from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, said symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain and feeling sick.
And here's where it gets weird.
His team looked at 17 different studies and asked the question: "How long did it take after caesarean section for a new mum to fart?"
The reason: because passing wind shows that the bowels are in good working condition. If you can't fart, it could indicate you have a blockage in the gut.
Chewing gum can trick your body into thinking it's eating and sends a message to the gut to start working as normal.
Researchers discovered that people chewing gum passed wind about 23 hours after their operation, compared to 29.5 hours for those who didn't chew gum.
That's six-and-a-half hours quicker. Which means you could help alleviate discomfort sooner, just by chewing gum.
Authors of the study said that the findings show that chewing gum could be a cheap and easy way for new mums to get their gut working and feel better quicker.
The study of 3,041 women, which was published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, revealed that chewing gum for about 30 minutes three times a day right after caesarean delivery until they pass wind helps markedly with early recovery of bowel issues.
So ladies, pop that chewing gum in your hospital bag pronto, because you never know you, and your bowel, might need it.