Constipation during pregnancy is very common, affecting three out of four pregnant women. If you are prone to constipation already, have morning sickness which is preventing you from eating much and/ or have irritable bowl syndrome chances are high that you will suffer from constipation during your pregnancy.
There are three reasons why constipation is so common during pregnancy.
Hormonal changes affecting pregnant women contribute towards constipation. Increased levels of progesterone relax the muscles throughout the body, including the digestive system which results in food passing through the intestines more slowly.
As your baby grows in your body, the pressure of your growing uterus against your rectum resulting in constipation.
The iron in prenatal supplements can then add to make the problem of constipation even worse.
Being pregnant means you can’t just take any over the counter remedy, you need to make sure that what you take is safe for pregnancy.
The best option is to look at natural remedies for constipation during pregnancy:
Drink Lots of Water
Make sure you drink lots of water every day, at least 8 cups. Your urine should be clear or pale yellow – this is a sign that you are properly hydrated.
Start each day with a glass of warm water with lemon in it. This will get you started on the right track every day.
Drink Fruit Juice Daily
Drinking a glass of fruit juice every day can help with constipation, especially if you drink prune juice.
Cut Out Tea, Coffee and Coke
It’s not really great for you to drink tea, coffee and Coke during your pregnancy anyway due to the caffeine and also the sugar in the coke.
From a constipation side, these drinks make you urinate more and therefore dehydrate you, making your constipation worse.
Make sure you exercise regularly while you are pregnant, there are loads of reasons why you should stay active during your pregnancy. Exercising regularly will help you to keep your pregnancy weight gain to a minimum and a fit mom has a better chance of having an easier birth and a quicker recovery.
Exercising regularly also helps to prevent constipation. Walking, swimming, tai chi, pilates and yoga are all excellent choices when it comes to keeping fit during pregnancy and also at keeping constipation at bay.
Have a High Fibre Diet
Make sure that you include enough roughage in your diet. Eating lots of wholegrain foods, fruit and vegetables will help your digestion.
It is a good idea to start each meal with salad, raw vegetables or fruit.
Be careful of eating too much bran as firstly bran can prevent your body from absorbing certain nutrients, but it can also harden your poo making constipation worse.
Change your Prenatal Vitamins
Try changing your prenatal supplements for one that has a lower concentration of iron in it. If you are taking iron supplements for anemia try changing brands to see if it has a better effect.
Eat Smaller Meals More Often
Instead of eating a few large meals eat small portions of food more often which will make it easier for your digestive system to process.
Eating lots of smaller meals is a great idea anyway when pregnant, not only will it help prevent constipation but you will also be less likely to suffer from pregnancy heartburn too!
Go to the Toilet After Meals
You are much more likely to have a successful bowel movement just after eating a meal, so remember to make time to go to the toilet after eating.
Reflexology is based on the theory that there are points on the feet, hands and head that correspond with every part of the body and massaging those particular points will relieve tension and treat illnesses.
The arches of your feet correspond with your digestive system. Ask your partner or a family member to massage the arches of your feet in a clockwise, circular motion to relieve constipation.
Drinking Dandelion or Mallow tea daily can help to ease pregnancy constipation.
Hopefully by following these natural remedies your constipation problems during pregnancy will be resolved.
If you are still struggling with constipation after trying all these tips there are loads of medications for constipation such as Buscopan, you just need to check with your doctor before taking any medications while pregnant.
While constipation during pregnancy is not usually considered serious, it can be very uncomfortable. Constipation can also lead to other complications such as hemorrhoids which is when the veins in the rectum become swollen. Hemorrhoids are extremely uncomfortable and will usually disappear after your baby is born.
If you have extreme constipation and you have pain in your abdominal area, and you are alternating between constipation and diarrhea, or you pass blood or mucus then you should contact your doctor immediately.
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Also published on Medium.