Tips for Constipation During Pregnancy

Woman eating an apple
Photo © PhotoAlto/Ale Ventura/Getty Images

Constipation, difficulty having regular bowel movements or BMs, is a very common symptom of pregnancy. This does not mean that you have to suffer from constipation or irregular, hard bowel movements and the pain associated with them. There are things you can do to help things move along so that constipation and pregnancy aren't a joint appointment in your life.

Some pregnant women will have constipation from pregnancy, as the hormones of pregnancy can slow the digestive system down.

Other people suffer with constipation even before pregnancy and this is simply an addition to their normal problem. It doesn't really matter which category you fall into, the treatments are the same.

Constipation, in addition to simply being comfortable, has other side effects too. Some people who have constipation, find out that it can even cause hemorrhoids. This is a varicose vein in the rectum which is very painful.

Simple Fixes to Help Avoid Constipation During Pregnancy

There are a few lifestyle changes that can help you avoid constipation as well as take care of any constipation that you are already experiencing. If you add these things into your life, you will likely notice that it takes a few days to work, but regular maintenance will keep your bowels moving.

Drink More Water:

Simply drinking water can help make your bowel movements more frequent and less hard to pass. Staying hydrated is important for everyone, particularly in pregnancy.

Be sure to get enough water every day and you will find that you have fewer problems with constipation. This is also good health advice all around.

Eat More Fiber:

Fiber is found in natural sources like many fruits and vegetables, also in beans and some grains. These natural sources will help your bowel movements be loose and regular.

Some recommend using prune juice as a natural laxative, should you already be experiencing problems with constipation. Eating a fwe prunes a day can also help avoid this problem for many.

Exercise More:

Exercise is known for helping keeping your bowels move regularly. This does not have to be an aerobics class, or running several miles. Simply adding more movement to your day can improve your bowel functions. This can be walking around the neighborhood, or getting in more steps at work. It can be swimming at the pool, or dancing with your partner - anything that moves your body and gets your heart rate up is good for your overall health in pregnancy and beyond.

Watch the calcium intake:

Too much calcium can cause constipation, this is found in many dairy products. Overdoing the milk or cheese and you could experience your bowels being backed up.

Medication Use:

Some medications can increase the likelihood that you will have constipation. One big culprit in pregnancy can be iron laden prenatal vitamins.

Often they are given to help prevent anemia. If you are having issues with the vitamins - ask to switch. Try to work to prevent anemia in a nutritional manner.

As a last resort, there are medications available to help with constipation. They can be particularly problematic in pregnancy and you would want to talk to your doctor or midwife before taking anything, even if it is over the counter. You can take medications like fiber pills and laxatives to help relieve the painful symptoms of constipation. In pregnancy not all of these medications are safe or effective. Please see your doctor or midwife about which are safe for you.

Continue Reading