Constipation during pregnancy is a very common problem. Almost 90% of pregnant women have complains about constipation.
If you frequently suffer from constipation and are planning for a baby or you are already in your pregnancy, this article will give information to cope up with the health problem.
Why Pregnant Mothers are Frequently Constipated?
Although constipation is very uncomfortable, it generally does not cause any harm to the baby. Some gynaecologists and even midwives do suggest not applying pressure or pushing hard to release bowels as the action may cause you todilate. We have heard the same advice from our moms and grand moms as well. And all these unnecessary facts and crooked instructions make new moms-to-be more scared and cautious.
“But my dear fella pregnant women, rest assured, your baby, and the placenta and even the amniotic fluid are safe within you as long as you eat right, stay stress free, take good rest and just love these 9 months, constipation or no constipation.
Reasons Can Be Many… Changes That You Go Through!!
One of the prime reasons that we can think of that causes constipation during pregnancy is hormonal changes, i.e. increased production of progesterone. Progesterone relaxes our smooth muscles, including our digestive tract. As a result, the hormone slows down the bowel contraction thus increasing absorption of food and fluids in body. This change further makes our stool compact and hard, hard enough to pass normally.
Constipation may compound later when the growing uterus and the baby’s head in the pelvis relaxes the pelvic floor, which further compress your rectum and intestine, making it harder to pass stools. Even high iron and calcium doses may cause hardening of stools.
Common Causes Of Constipation in Pregnancy are:
- Excessive release of progesterone
- High dose of calcium and iron supplements
- Not enough fluids intake
- Less fiber in diet
- Lack of exercise and movements
- Physical changes
How Do You Know You Are Constipated?
If you have 3 or less bowel movements in a week, you are considered constipated. There have been cases where pregnant women have experienced no bowel movements for as long as 5 days.
If you find difficulty in passing hardened stools and also have stomach pain accompanied by farts, bloating and discomfort, then you are constipated.
Other signs include
- If you need to pass stools even after you have just finished the session
- Excessive diarrhea. Yes, surprisingly loosies or diarrhea can be a sign of constipation. How? Well if small amount of hard stool is blocking the intestines, your body may release excessive fluid to release the waste and cause you loosies.
Although, constipation is not a sign of major problem during pregnancy, it may make you feel bloated. And if it persists for a prolonged period, there are chances of you getting haemorrhoids.
Here are some of the remedies you can try to prevent constipation
- Whenever You Get the Urge, Go: Yes, just don’t wait for the movie to get over or wait to finish the coffee. Holding your already hardened stool can escalate the problem.
- Eat Loads of Fibres and Drink Plenty of Water: Pregnant or not, just make this your mantra. Fibres are not only good for your overall body but they also soften your stools.
Unprocessed grains, vegetables and fruits are great source of fibres.Apples , pears, prunes tangerines, raspberries and oranges are high fibre content fruits. Similarly, fibre is aplenty in beans, black eyed peas, whole grain cereals and vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, squash, cauliflower, zucchini, and brussels.
Needless to add, dehydration is one of the enemies of constipated bowels. To avoid this, drink enough water to keep your body hydrated and muscles supple and active. Add plenty of fluids too.
- Exercise and Move Your Body: Exercise is actually a sign of healthy gestation unless your doctor suggests otherwise. Light exercise is perfectly safe for the baby and mom. Try Yoga and walking. Exercising not only keeps your bowels moving but also keeps your muscles flexed, which will help in your labour thoroughly.
- Laxatives and lactulose:With the advice from your doctor, you can consume prescribed dosage of laxatives and lactulose during pregnancy constipation. Bulk forming laxatives do not get absorbed in the blood stream but improves the bowel movement by increasing the bulk of the stool.
Similarly, laxatives are a type of sugar that draws water into the bowel. Enough water content softens stools and helps the faeces to pass easily.
Although, no studies have indicated ill effects of lactose and laxatives, excessive intake of these two medications can lead to unbalanced levels of salts and minerals. Therefore, always talk to your doctor before treating any health issue during pregnancy.