Constipation is one of the most common problems encountered in pregnancy. Since times immemorial, expectant women are advised to change their diet, and include some special ingredients to tackle with this frequent complaint.
What Causes Constipation During Pregnancy?
The main cause of constipation during pregnancy is the expansion of uterus and consequent compression on rectum and large intestine. Add to that increase in the pregnancy hormone progesterone, and most women end u suffering from bloating, cramps, discomfort and constipation in pregnancy. This in turn retards the normal contraction of your digestive tract and result in constipation. The enlarging uterus also affects your urine. It increases the frequency of urination. As pregnancy advances, you tend to urinate a lot. This result in decreased re-absorption of water in colon and worsen the situation. Read more about constipation in pregnancy here.
How To Prevent Constipation In Pregnancy?
Constipation is easily treatable by making a few changes to your lifestyle and diet. Here are some natural ways to avoid constipation without being afraid of any possible side effects.
- Plenty of fiber: Increase fiber intake in your diet because fiber ads extra bulk and softens your stools. It also absorbs water and facilitates passage of stool from the large intestine. So, include apples, apricots, green leafy vegetables, soy flour, artichokes, beans and whole grains
- Plenty of water: Increase your fluid intake as it is a potent natural laxative. The fluid snot only keeps your body and digestive system well-hydrated but also push the stood down the large intestine. Drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water daily
- Take prunes: Pregnant women should consume prunes (juiced, cooked or dried) as they produce fiber like effect on your digestive tract. It helps your system to eliminate stools easily
- Exercise: Regular exercises are also beneficial in regulating your digestive tract. Your blood circulation and metabolic rate is increased. The peristaltic movement is improved and evacuation of stool becomes easier. You can do mild cardio, yoga, swimming or walking depending on availability of time and place
Home Remedies To Ease Constipation During Pregnancy
If you are suffering from constipation during pregnancy, which is very likely, consider taking the help of natural remedies after you make changes to your lifestyle and diet. Natural remedies do not have any side effects and can be effective in relieving you from bloating and discomfort.
- Horseradish can help: Take a tablespoon of horseradish and soak in half a cup of water for five to ten minutes. Then boil for 2 to 3 minutes and allow it to cool. Drink the water or add in your salads. This amazing remedy is purely natural and will help you get rid of constipation in few days
- Flax seeds: Flax seeds are another effective natural laxative and can be safely taken during pregnancy. They add bulk to stools and being oily help in their easy evacuation
- Beet: Raw beets are amazing natural laxatives. Prepare a salad of cucumber and beets and eat a plateful. You will have red urine but no need to panic. It is common with beet consumption
Is It Safe To Use Laxatives During Pregnancy?
If none of the natural remedies work for you during pregnancy, to relieve you off discomfort, your doctor may suggest you a milk laxative. Laxatives that are not absorbed by the digestive system are safe to use in pregnancy. Milk of magnesia is one such laxative which is very safe and mild. Metamucil is a bulk forming laxative and is also considered safe in pregnancy.
Sometimes, these mild laxatives do not work, and hence your doctor may prescribe stronger laxatives and a stool softener during pregnancy. You must always ensure that you do consult your doctor before taking any laxative. Well, the important aspect of using laxative during pregnancy is its safety and whether it can have any unwanted effect on the newborn? Use mild natural laxatives to keep constipation at bay.
Laxatives In Late Pregnancy
Many people are of the opinion that laxatives in late pregnancy can cause contractions and may lead to premature birth. This is also supported by the fact that some laxatives do cause uterine contractions and lead to premature labor. Also, using laxatives will use a lot of water inside your body, so you will need to have plenty of water to balance the hydration.
Laxatives and Pregnancy Side Effects
Laxative usage is sometimes associated with some adverse effects too. For one, regular use of laxatives can cause diarrhea, draining your body of fluids. Laxatives that form the bulk can increase blood pressure because of their high sodium or sugar content. Expectant moms should not use castor oil or mineral oil as they can lead to uterine contractions and premature labor may set in. Use of mineral oil can also cause bleeding in the newborn. You should also avoid stimulant laxatives during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before using any laxative.
No serious allergic reactions have been observed with laxatives. Tell your doctor, if you are allergic to bisacodyl and ask for an alternative.
Laxatives For Pregnancy Constipation
Sometimes including fiber rich foods, drinking a lot of water, etc do not come to your rescue, it is then you resort to taking laxatives.
Probiotics are the natural favorable flora or healthy bacteria that keep a balance of organisms in intestines. Probiotic supplements are available in the market and yeast is a renowned probiotic. Eating curd or yoghurt can also be useful.
- Bulk-forming agents: Bulk forming agents are probably the safest among laxatives and can be used for long durations. However they are associated with unpleasant odor or bloating and might not be effective always
- Stool softeners: Stool softeners such as docusate sodium too are regarded as safe laxatives for pregnant mothers
- Lubricant laxatives: Mineral oil is not absorbed in the gut and helps in passing off stools easily. However it should not be used for long durations
- Osmotic laxatives: Osmotic laxatives such as lactulose and polyethylene glycol are badly absorbed from the intestine and do not produce any side effects. Prolonged usage is not recommended
All in all, constipation in pregnancy can be treated easily with home remedies and by making changes in your lifestyle and diet. However, if they do not work for you, you could consider taking mild laxatives in consultation with the doctor. Never administer any medicine yourself during pregnancy.