Constipation is a common problem that many women experience during pregnancy. It can cause discomfort, bloating, and cramping, making it difficult to enjoy your pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many ways to cope with constipation during pregnancy, and in this blog post, we’ll discuss some effective strategies to help you feel more comfortable.
The Causes of Constipation During Pregnancy
Constipation during pregnancy is caused by a combination of factors, including hormonal changes, increased pressure on the bowels, and the effects of prenatal vitamins. The hormone progesterone, which is produced in high levels during pregnancy, can slow down the digestive process, making it more difficult to pass stool. Additionally, the growing uterus can put pressure on the bowels, leading to constipation. Lastly, prenatal vitamins, which are often recommended during pregnancy, can contribute to constipation.
The below are some ways to cope with constipation during pregnancy:
Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to prevent constipation during pregnancy. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water each day to help keep your stools soft and easy to pass. If you find it difficult to drink enough water, try adding some flavor to it by infusing it with fruits like lemon, orange, or cucumber.
Eating foods that are high in fiber can also help to prevent constipation during pregnancy. Foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are all good sources of fiber. Try to incorporate at least 25-30 grams of fiber into your daily diet. Some excellent sources of fiber include oatmeal, bran cereals, beans, lentils, berries, and green leafy vegetables.
Regular exercise can help to stimulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. Walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are all good options. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Not only can exercise help to alleviate constipation, but it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Certain foods can contribute to constipation, such as processed foods, dairy products, and fried foods. Avoid these foods and opt for healthier options instead. Foods high in sugar or fat can be hard to digest, leading to constipation. Eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to promote regular bowel movements.
If you’re having trouble getting enough fiber from your diet, you may want to consider taking a fiber supplement. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, however, as some can be harmful during pregnancy. Fiber supplements such as Metamucil or Citrucel can help to soften stools and make them easier to pass.
There are many natural remedies that can help to alleviate constipation during pregnancy, such as drinking prune juice or taking probiotics. Prune juice is a natural laxative that can help to soften stool and promote bowel movements. Probiotics, which are good bacteria that live in the gut, can help to regulate bowel movements, and promote digestive health. Talk to your doctor before trying any natural remedies, however.
Straining during bowel movements can make constipation worse and can lead to hemorrhoids. If you’re having trouble passing stools, try taking a warm bath or using a stool softener. A warm bath can help to relax the muscles in the bowel and promote bowel movements. Stool softeners such as Colace or Miralax can help to soften stools and make them easier to pass.
Potential Complications of Constipation
If the symptoms of constipation persist for several weeks or longer, this indicates chronic constipation, which can lead to complications such as:
To help avoid complications, it’s safest to get in touch with your healthcare provider at the first signs of constipation or pain.