Constipation while pregnant
Constipation during pregnancy is a common problem: at some point, up to half of the pregnant women get constipated.
An increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy is one reason for constipation, which relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means food passes more slowly through the intestines.
And later in pregnancy, the problem may be compounded by the pressure on your rectum from your growing uterus. Iron supplements can make constipation worse, especially in high doses.
When do you generally start constipation during pregnancy?
Constipation tends to start around the second to third month of pregnancy as soon as progesterone levels rise. As pregnancy progresses, it may get worse and your uterus grows.
During pregnancy, what causes constipation?
As with many other symptoms of pregnancy, constipation is caused by pregnancy hormones. Progesterone causes relaxation of the muscles in your intestines, allowing food to hang in the digestive tract for longer. The upside is that there is more time to absorb nutrients into your bloodstream and reach your baby. The downside is that you end up with a traffic jam of waste products. Also, your expanding uterus takes up valuable space that your intestine normally occupies, cramping its usual activity.
When I am pregnant, what can I do about constipation?
You’re not going to have to resign to nine months of misery. There are plenty of tactics to fight colon congestion (all while heading off hemorrhoids, a common constipation side effect):
Fight Back With Fiber:
Fiber-rich foods help remove waste; aim at 25 to 35 grams per day. If you want to check the food labels, but you don’t have to do the math. Instead, concentrate on eating a lot of cereal and bread from full grain, legumes, fresh fruit and veggies (raw or lightly cooked, preferably skin-linked), and dried fruit. Going for the green can also help you go, both in the form of green leafy vegetables and kiwi fruits, which have a powerful laxative effect. The sample to get started from this fiber-rich and delicious menu. Actually plugged up? Try to add bran or psyllium to your diet, start with a sprinkle and grow as needed. But first, check with your doctor and don’t go overboard, as these fiber powerhouses can carry important nutrients away before they can be absorbed. (And be prepared for some flatulence, another common pregnancy complaint and a temporary side effect of upping your dietary fiber.)
Shun refined cereals (white bread, white rice, refined cereals, and pasta) that tend to support things.
Every day, between 12 and 13 full glasses of fluids (water, vegetable or fruit juice and broth) keep solids moving through your digestive tract and make your stubble soft and easier to pass. It can also be used for the stimulation of peristalsis (intestinal contractions that aid you). You can also turn to warm fluids, including the health spa, hot water, and lemon. For truly tough cases, prune juice is a good pick, as it is a mild laxative.
Don’t max out at mealtime.
Big meals can overtax your digestive tract, resulting in a backup of things. Try eating six mini – meals a day instead of three big ones, and you will experience less gas and bloating as well.
Consider your supplements and medications:
Ironically, many of a pregnant body’s supplements and medicines (prenatal vitamins, calcium and iron supplements, and antacids) may exacerbate constipation. So check alternatives (such as slow-release iron supplements) or dosage adjustments with your practitioner until the situation gets better. Also, ask your practitioner to take a supplement of magnesium to help combat constipation. Taking it at night can also help you to relax achy muscles and sleep better.
Get your fill of probiotics:
The probiotic acidophilus found in yogurts containing active cultures stimulates bacteria in the intestines to break down food more effectively to keep things moving. In capsules, chewable or powder form, you can also ask your practitioner to recommend a good probiotic supplement that can be added to smoothies.
Get a move on:
Regular pregnancy exercise promotes regular bowel movements. Even a 10-minute walk can move things, so make sure you get the amount of practice – approved exercise that is recommended.
Do your Kegels:
Exercises on the pelvic floor can help keep you regular when you are regularly practiced.
Stay away from stimulating laxatives:
Not all laxatives and stool softeners are safe to use during pregnancy (especially herbal or homegrown ones). Talk to a doctor before taking any medication or remedy for constipation.
Is constipation ever serious during pregnancy?
Not usually, but sometimes constipation can be a symptom of another problem during pregnancy. Call your doctor or midwife immediately if you have severe constipation that is accompanied by abdominal pain, alternate with diarrhea, or passes mucus or blood.
Furthermore, straining during a bowel movement or passing through a hard stool can lead to or worsen hemorrhoids in the rectal area that are swollen veins. Hemorrhoids can be very uncomfortable, although they rarely cause serious problems. They go away pretty soon after your baby is born in most cases. However, call your provider if the pain is severe, or if you have rectal bleeding.
Is it safe to use stool softeners to treat constipation during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, stool softeners are usually considered safe.
Pregnancy constipation can be uncomfortable, defined as having less than three movements of the intestine a week. Stool softeners like Colace moisturize the stool and make passing easier. These products are unlikely to harm a developing baby due to the body’s minimal absorption of their active ingredient. However, before taking any medication— including stool softeners and other types of laxatives — check with your health care provider to treat constipation of pregnancy.
In most cases, pregnancy constipation is short-lived and resolves without treatment or minimal. However, prolonged constipation may cause fecal impaction in rare cases, which a doctor may need to remove.
Continued use of some types of a laxative may cause the intestine to “forget” how to push the intestines through the stool.
These drugs may also cause in some people electrolyte or fluid imbalances. Usually, such issues affect people with other health issues, such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Talking to a doctor about the types of laxative to be taken and how often to take them is best.
When to consult a doctor?
Before taking any medication, including laxatives or other constipation remedies, it is vital that pregnant women talk to their doctor. It is also advisable to see a doctor if there are any additional symptoms, including:
- Stomach pain
- Constipation that lasts longer than 1–2 weeks
- Bleeding from the rectum
- No relief after laxative use
As always, mention any other symptoms or concerns to the doctor for more specific information and advice.
Also Read: What Cause Constipation In Toddlers?