Constipation is a very common problem in most of the pregnant women. More than half of pregnant women have to bear constipation that leaves them gassy, bloat, cranky, miserable and irritated. Some women deal with the problem daily till they are pregnant while some simply go unaffected by constipation. Usually it is treated with some natural remedies, some light syrups or medicines. But if it is severe, you may feel strained while passing the stool and it is advisable to see the doctor.
Causes of Constipation In Pregnancy
The pregnancy hormone progesterone,causes the bowels muscles to relax, and lets the food hang in there for longer times. Though it also means that more nutrients are being extracted, it just congests your colon – leaving you desperately wanting to shake a move there. Even the growing uterus plays its game as it occupies more space, leaving little for the bowel.
Other probable causes for colon congestion are:
- Prenatal Iron Supplements: Vital for you and the baby, but slows down the bowel movement
- Dehydration: Since you are producing so much blood for the baby, water does not aid the bowels
- Diet lacking fibre: If you are still munching on diet that is all carbs and fats, you will face the problem of constipation
- Lack of exercise: Sitting there whole day because you are pregnant will not help, get yourself moving
- Morning Sickness: Probably because you do not feel like eating, you could suffer from constipation and may not be getting the essential nutrients – slowing things further
During pregnancy, all these factors contribute to inhibiting the movement of waste products in a regular manner. The digestive system works slowly, and the hormones relax the entire digestive tract and the frequency of bowel movement decreases.
How to get rid of Constipation during Pregnancy and Preventions Methods
It is wise to take preventive measures before constipation becomes a regular problem. There are many home remedies which can be tried to avoid it. Some of them are as listed below:
- Increase fiber in your diet:Intake of a fiber rich diet will help you hold the water and pass things through the intestine. Make sure your diet comprises of fresh fruits, cereal, beans and green leafy vegetables. If you can’t get fiber from food, then try fiber supplements
- Exercise: Do some pregnancy exercises, a walk or some yoga or any other physical activity (which is not harmful in pregnancy). This is a sound way to avoid gas and constipation problems. You will feel more fit and healthy as well.
- Water, Water, Water: Drink plenty of water, ensure you have at least 7-8 glasses of water every day.You can even have coconut or warm water
- Increase your fluid intake: Have a glass of fruit juice, and try prune juice which is a mild laxative. Having warm liquids like lemon and water or honey in water also helps some people to get things moving
- Smaller Meals: Try taking your meals in small portions. Do not take big meals, it may worsen your digestive system. Divide meals in five –six portions a day
- Schedule Toilet times: By scheduling your toilet timings, you will have a fair chance to be in the vicinity of one when the mood strikes.
- Try Yoghurt:Yoghurt is a good source of bacteria. Regular intake of yoghurt helps relieving constipation as pro biotic acidophiles in it stimulates intestinal bacteria to break down food better
Pregnancy Constipation in First Trimester
The first trimester is the time when your body is still getting used to being pregnant, and add to it the pregnancy hormones playing havoc on your digestive system. Constipation, gas, bloating are all a result of progesterone causing the bowel muscles to relax and not moving them through the intestine. Have a fibrous diet, keep the water coming and be physically active so as to deal with pregnancy constipation in the first trimester.
Pregnancy in Second Trimester and Constipation
Apart from pregnancy hormones, your uterus is also starting to increase in size, leaving little or no space for the bowels to go about their business. Try eating smaller portion of meals and have food that are rich in fibre. You would also be given some iron supplements which would worsen the constipation – watch out for it as well.
Constipation in Third Trimester during Pregnancy
Constipation worsens during the third trimester, it is harder to manage because uterus takes all the empty space in the stomach making bowels much, much slower. Watch your diet closely and take a walk everyday.
Constipation and Hemorrhoids for Pregnant Women
Though rare, too much of straining while trying to pass a stool or passing a hard stool can cause hemorrhoids which are the swollen veins in the rectal area. They are rarely serious, but can cause you a great deal of discomfort, pain, itching and sometimes slight rectal bleeding as well.
If you are still not able to poop, speak to your doctor or midwife about it. You may even try few homeopathic medicines for constipation problem but after consulting with the experts. Go to the bathroom when you feel urge. Adding oatmeal, pears, plum, peaches to your diet can help in smooth passing of stool. This phase gets over once you deliver the baby in most of the cases. However in few cases the problem may persist after pregnancy which can be cured with the help of doctors. Discuss with doctor before you decide to take any laxatives. After having meal try to take a walk for few minutes, do not sit or lie down immediately after having meals.