Types of Enema During Pregnancy

Submitted by Nick on January 13, 2012

An enema is a procedure used for cleansing the bowels and clearing the colon of all fecal matter. An enema procedure usually involves emptying a enema bag comprising water and sodium bicarbonate into the anus. This process activates the bowels and the colon to release fecal matter. Enema may also be used in suppository form such that substances are released into the bloodstream through the anus. Enema does not necessarily require medical intervention and can be easily done at home. Enema is usually considered by those having severe constipation and bowel disorders.

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Enema During Pregnancy
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Laxatives are a better alternative as compared to enema for cleansing the bowels. Enema during pregnancy is either used to relieve constipation at the onset of labor or to stimulate labor. Constipation or erratic bowel movements is a common problem during pregnancy. Hormonal changes, intake of iron supplements and diet may cause constipation among pregnant women. Constipation must be avoided during pregnancy because excess pressure while passing stools may lead to abdominal cramps or formation of piles.

Using an enema during pregnancy:

There are different types of enema that can be employed depending on personal comfort level. The water based enema is the most popular followed by saline enema, mineral oil and coffee enema during pregnancy. The saline enema during pregnancy is a salt water enema while the coffee enema employs caffeine to stimulate the liver to release more bile. Phosphate enema stimulates the muscles of the colon. Emollient enemas contain certain substances that soften the stool. The mineral oil enema during pregnancy must be administered only in case of prior knowledge or experience of doing this type of enema. It is advisable to discuss with a health practitioner before choosing the type of enema during pregnancy first trimester.

Mineral oil enema during pregnancy:

Mineral oil enema slows down the rate at which water is absorbed by the bowels. This process helps soften the feces and it is easy to pass stools. The mineral oil must be retained in the bowel for at least thirty minutes to derive positive results. Mineral oil enema can be administered at home but only after taking necessary approvals from a health care practitioner. Pregnant and lactating mothers must consult the doctor about the use of this type of enema. Medical conditions such as allergies, health ailments and disorders must also be reported to the doctor before using a mineral oil enema. Certain health conditions such as appendicitis or intestinal blockage prohibit the use of mineral oil enema. Known side effects of employing mineral oil enema include conditions such as flatulence, diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps and nausea. Rectal bleeding, irritation and swelling are also possible side effects.

Coffee enema during pregnancy:

The coffee enema detoxifies the liver and provides rapid colon cleansing. The coffee enema contains a combination of theophylline, theobromine and caffeine. This combination stimulates relaxation of colon muscles, dilation of blood vessels and bile ducts. Caffeine while entering through the anus is absorbed very quickly and is considered to be more effective than drinking coffee. Coffee enema has been in existence for a long time and is therefore considered to be a safe procedure but it is not advisable for pregnant women or lactating mothers. As coffee employs the use of stimulants, caffeine dependence can become a problem.

Microlax enema during pregnancy:

Microlax is an easy to use enema and is effective within half an hour. This type of enema is considered as a fast acting enema that softens bowel matter and reduces the risk of irritating the bowel lining by gently assisting bowel discharge. Microlax is used to eliminate constipation and as preparation for rectum examination. Known side effects of using Microlax are abnormal skin reaction, allergy and slight rectal burning.

Safe enema during pregnancy:

Home remedies or natural laxatives are other safe alternatives to enema during pregnancy. Eat foods that are rich in fiber. Fiber helps ease digestion and prevent constipation. Fiber also helps regulate bowel movements and keep the system clean. Certain foods that are difficult to digest such as red meat, fried foods, sweets must be avoided to ease the digestive system. Consider increasing intake of high fiber foods such as raw fruits and vegetables with skin and wholegrain foods. Increased intake of water and other natural juices also help benefit the digestive system. Ginger, cayenne pepper, fennel and asafetida are some ingredients that can be included in foods to aid digestion. The key advantages of using natural laxatives as compared to other methods of cleansing the bowel are:

  • Safe to use on a long term basis and will not cause any side effects
  • Natural laxatives help strengthen the colon
  • Physical dependency can be eliminated
  • Regular cleansing can be activated without fearing side effects
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