Pregnancy can be stressful phase for a woman on both physical and emotional levels. Constipation, or irregularity in bowel movements is one of the commonest symptoms observed by pregnant woman. Lack of exercise, slow-down of digestive system due to pregnancy hormones. Iron supplementation, expanding uterus, lack of fiber rich diet etc. can all be the causes for it. The good thing is that you don’t need to suffer from this discomfort throughout the nine months of pregnancy. There are simple and safe home remedies and treatments that will help you in relieving from this discomfort.
Causes for constipation
The reason of occurrence of constipation depends at which stage you are in your pregnancy. Some of the possible causes are:
- Hormones: Change in the levels of pregnancy hormone levels leads to reduced movement of stool through the intestine.
- Prenatal vitamins: Many women are advised to consume prenatal vitamins in their pregnancy. These medicines are full of iron that is needed for a healthy pregnancy of a woman. Iron can make the stool hard, that can result in constipation.
- Growing uterus: In second or third trimester of pregnancy, the uterus begins to expand. This causes pressure on the movement of bowel and makes it difficult to move through the intestine.
Ways to treat constipation
So, due to all these reasons, it is quite normal to experience constipation during pregnancy. But, here are some gentle home remedies that you can try to relieve yourself from the discomfort to a good extent.
- Fiber: Increase your fiber intake in the form of fiber rich foods or fiber supplements. Target to eat around 28grams to 34 grams of fiber in a day. Some of the fibrous foods that can aid you in constipation are fresh fruits, whole grains, leafy greens, etc. They all ease the movement of stool through the intestine.
- Drink More: Another reason that can cause of constipation is lack of water in the body. Focus on being well-hydrated throughout the day. Drink 10-12 glasses of water daily. Try to add soups, butter milk, coconut water, green tea, sugar free fruit and vegetable juices in your diet.
- Exercise: Staying active is very important to treat this problem. Check with your doctor about the type of simple exercises that you can do during your pregnancy. Not just it will help in treating this problem, but also keep you fit and ease your pregnancy.
- Probiotics: There are a million of healthy bacteria found in probiotic food that help in encouraging regular, and normal bowel movements. Yogurt is one of the best examples of these foods. Try it include it in your daily diet.
Track your calcium consumption: A lot of calcium can be the reason for constipation. Try to not overconsume calcium supplements, and dairy products.
Supervise the consumption of medications: The medicines that are prescribed to the pregnant women especially iron-loaded prenatal vitamins can be the big reason for constipation. Though they fulfill any deficiency of iron in the body, but makes stool hard so that it doesn’t move easily in the body. If possible, prefer natural sources of iron over iron pills. Ask to your doctor, if you can take fiber pills to increase fiber content in your body.
Other treatments: Laxative is another treatment by which your bowel movements can become easier and comfortable. It is advised to use only gentle laxatives. Avoid using stimulant laxatives as it can cause uterine contractions in your body. You can find several laxatives over the counter; however, it is required that you check with your doctor to find which of these are safe to use.
Some of the pregnancy safe laxatives available for consumption by pregnant women are:
- Bulk-forming agents
- Stool softeners
- Lubricant laxatives
- Osmotic laxatives
When to visit a doctor: You need to see a doctor if you see any of the below symptoms in your body:
- stomach pain
- constipation that lasts longer than one week
- bleeding from the rectum
- no relief even after use of a laxative
It is required that you disclose all your existing health issues and discomfort to the doctor and clarify your doubts. Talk out all your worries with the doctor as he / she can be the best support to guide you through a healthy pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a critical phase in a woman’s life. Everyone’s pregnancy is different. It is best to obtain doctor’s approval before you consume any medication. Being in constant communication with your doctor about all pregnancy induced changes will help in smooth execution of the journey. These tips will safely and effectively help you treat or prevent constipation.