Constipation During Pregnancy

It is quite common to experience constipation during pregnancy. Hard stools, the presence of blood in the stools, a bloated feeling, excessive flatulence (gas), and an absence of bowel movements for many days are all symptoms of severe constipation during pregnancy.

While some may have constipation during early pregnancy, for others it may continue into the later months. Those who suffer the condition frequently in their pre-pregnancy days are more prone to it, but others may also be susceptible to it, because of various reasons.

Constipation During Pregnancy Causes

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Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors during pregnancy.During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called progesterone. This slows down the activity of the intestines and digestion, thus leading to hard or irregular stools. As the fetus grows, the uterus becomes larger and presses on the lower abdomen. This puts pressure on the intestines, and may cause difficulty in evacuating the bowels completely. Many of the supplements, such as calcium, iron and vitamins, that a pregnant mother is prescribed, are also a cause for constipation during pregnancy. Another reason could possibly be that in later pregnancy, you are less physically active. You may also crave fatty foods during this period. Both these are factors known to cause constipation.

Tips to Avoid Constipation During Pregnancy

You may ask your doctor what to take for constipation during pregnancy. But avoid over-the-counter laxatives, castor oil or colon cleansers, since they may prove harmful for your unborn baby.  A few tips for a healthy lifestyle can help you avoid constipation.

  • Eat plenty of high-fiber food. Whole grains, legumes, high-bran cereals, oat meal, vegetables and fruits will provide enough roughage and help you avoid constipation altogether. Prune juice and applesauce have natural laxatives, so include them in your diet.

    Avoid white rice and processed and refined white flour products. Sugar, cheese and fatty foods can also cause constipation, so try to avoid those too.
  • Set aside regular timings for your meals. Instead of three large meals, try and eat several smaller meals. If you feel like snacking, choose high-fiber foods like a high-fiber muffin or oatmeal cake, or a salad, or a piece of fruit.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Hot beverages are also helpful in stimulating the bowels.
  • Include some light exercises like walking, swimming or yoga every day. This also helps to stimulate bowel movement.
  • Try to follow a regular lifestyle with regular time for your bowel movements. Never indefinitely delay and deny any bodily functions.
  • Get plenty of sleep and rest, as stress and tension can also sometimes lead to constipation.
Constipation During Pregnancy
Constipation During Pregnancy
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