Constipation during pregnancy is a regular problem that can be noticed in about half of all pregnant women. Constipation is a problem that is usually an early sign of pregnancy and sometimes it can be noticed for all up to nine months of pregnancy. Usually, it occurs when abdominal pain or discomfort, hard and rare bowel movements, and hard stools are transient. In the case of pregnant women that affects 11 to 38 percent.
Usually, it is a regular pregnancy complaint if your irregular bowel movements cause bloating, gas, feeling clogged-up. About three out of four women experience constipation and other intestinal problems during pregnancy.
In this article, we will help you to know why constipation is common in pregnancy and the easy way to get rid of it. There are also home remedies that women can use to relieve discomfort
When does constipation generally start during pregnancy?
Constipation is seen to start between the second and third months of pregnancy as progesterone levels rise. Basically, it can cause worse conditions as the uterus grows through the progression of the pregnancy.
What causes constipation during pregnancy?
Why Am I Constipated? This question may come to your mind as soon as constipation starts. Know that, however, those pregnancy hormones, like many other pregnancy symptoms, are the culprit for causing constipation. This is because progesterone relaxes your bowel muscle which leads to prolonged digestion of food. The upside is that nutrition adds time to be absorbed into your bloodstream to reach your baby. Normally your expanded uterus by your bowel occupies a valuable place cramping in regular activity.
Constipation is a common occurrence in pregnancy. According to a study published in Acta Obstetricia and Gynecology Scandinavica, three out of every four pregnant women will experience constipation.
Rising levels of the hormone progesterone slow down your digestive system when you are pregnant. As a result, it becomes more difficult to pass hard stools. It happens so early that it is the first sign of some woman’s pregnancy, says Suzanne Wang, OB / GYN of St. Joseph’s Health Center in Toronto.
Also in the case of the second and third trimesters, the pressure on your bowels from your growing uterus can exacerbate the problem, which is why extra iron and calcium are binding in your prenatal vitamins, so they are not favors in this case. Also if you suffer from constipation before pregnancy, you are more likely to suffer from complete constipation during pregnancy. “The risk of becoming constipated is enhanced if you have a predisposition to it,” says Wong.
Although constipation can lead you to something dangerous by making you feel all kinds of horrible feelings. Hemorrhoids and anal fissures can occur in the most severe cases, usually due to pressure on the veins around the rectum; it causes you pain and discomfort but is not likely to endanger you or your baby. Wong says there are plenty of natural ways to control constipation before it reaches that stage of prevention
“This hormone causes the muscles in the wall of the bowel to relax so they’re not making the contractions needed to help move things along,” says Dr. Rabin, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City.
In general, constipation can be caused by anxiety, worry, minimal physical exercise, and a low-fiber diet.
Your prenatal vitamin iron or the iron supplement you take maybe another culprit because of your anemia. Another cause of constipation giving up caffeine, which naturally keeps the bowels moving.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water only if you take iron supplements. In this case, you may need to switch to different types of iron tablets, but it is important that you talk to your healthcare provider about that.
The cause of constipation during pregnancy. Possible causes include:
Hormones: In early pregnancy changes the levels of the hormones and slow down stool movements through the bowel, making it harder and difficult to pass as this delay increases the amount of water that the colon absorbed from the stool.
Prenatal Vitamins: Prenatal vitamins are rich in iron; it can sometimes be deficient in pregnancy which is an important mineral. This constipation and severe can cause hard, black stools.
Pressure from the uterus: The growing uterus can put pressure on the bowel during pregnancy which makes it difficult to remove stool through the bowel.
In addition to the very low intestinal movements, bloating due to constipation, abdominal discomfort, and hard, dry stools, which can be difficult and painful to pass. It can be turned into feelings of a stool that has not passed.
Can I prevent constipation during pregnancy?
Good dieting propensities and standard exercise energize an expedient digestive system, which can help to reduce constipation during pregnancy. Devouring heaps of fiber-rich nourishments (organic products, veggies, entire grains, lentils), drinking enough water, and staying (or getting) dynamic would all be able to consolidate to prevent clogging by exchanging the common digestive slowdown of pregnancy.
What can I do about constipation when I’m pregnant?
You don’t have to resign yourself to nine months of discomfort. There are plenty of tactics to combat colon congestion (all the while heading off hemorrhoids, a common side effect of constipation):
Fight back with fiber. Fiber-rich foods help you eliminate waste; aim for 25 to 35 grams each day. Check the food labels if you want, but there’s no need to do the math. Instead, focus on simply eating plenty of whole-grain cereals and bread, legumes (edamame and chickpeas), fresh fruits and veggies (raw or lightly cooked — preferably with the skin left on), and dried fruits. Going for the green can also help you go, in both the form of leafy green vegetables and kiwi fruit, which packs a potent laxative effect. Sample from this fiber-rich and tasty menu to get started.
Really plugged up? Try adding some bran or psyllium to your diet, starting with a sprinkle and increasing as needed. Be sure to check with your doctor first before you do this, though, and don’t go overboard, since these fiber powerhouses can carry away important nutrients before they can be absorbed. (Also be prepared for some flatulence, another common complaint of pregnancy as well as a temporary side effect of upping the fiber in your diet.)
Resist refined. Try to avoid refined grains (white bread, white rice, refined cereals, and pasta) when you can; they tend to back things up.
Drink up. Downing between eight and 10 8-ounce glasses of fluids (water, vegetable, or fruit juice and broth) every day keeps solids moving through your digestive tract and makes your stool soft and easier to pass. You can also turn to warm liquids, including that health spa staple, hot water, and lemon, to help stimulate peristalsis (the intestinal contractions that help you go). Prune juice is a good pick for truly tough cases since it’s a mild laxative.
Don’t max out at mealtime. Big meals can overtax your digestive tract, leading to things getting backed up. Try eating six mini-meals a day rather than three large ones and you might also experience less gas and bloating.
Go when you gotta go. Regularly holding it in can weaken the muscles that control your bowels and lead to constipation, so try to go whenever you have to.
Consider your supplements and medications. Ironically, many of the supplements and medications that do a pregnant body good (prenatal vitamins, calcium and iron supplements, and antacids) can exacerbate constipation. So check with your practitioner about alternatives (such as slow-release iron supplements) or adjustments in dosages until the situation improves. Also, ask your practitioner about taking a magnesium supplement to help fight constipation. Taking it at night may relax achy muscles and help you sleep better, too.
Get your fill of probiotics. The probiotic acidophilus, found in yogurts that contain active cultures, stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better to keep things moving. You can also ask your practitioner to recommend a good probiotic supplement in capsules, chewable, or powder form that can be added to smoothies.
Get a move on. Regular exercise during pregnancy encourages regular bowel movements. Even just a 10-minute walk can get things moving, so make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of practitioner-approved exercise.
Do your Kegels. Pelvic floor exercises can help keep you regular when practiced regularly.
Stay away from stimulant laxatives. Not all laxatives and stool softeners (especially herbal or homemade ones) are safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your practitioner before taking any constipation medication or remedy.
When can I expect constipation to end while I’m pregnant?
For some women, constipation lasts throughout pregnancy as progesterone levels peak. However, if you change up your eating and exercise habits, things usually begin moving more smoothly. And you can take steps to combat constipation at any point during your pregnancy.
5 Safe Remedies for Constipation in Pregnancy
Infrequent bowel movements. Abdominal pain. The passage of hard stools.
If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably experienced these three familiar signs of constipation. Hormonal changes, pressure on the womb, and the iron in prenatal vitamins are to blame.
From over-the-counter pills to natural cures, there are a whole host of remedies available for relieving constipation.
But when pregnancy’s involved, the number of solutions shrinks.
These five remedies are pregnancy-safe.
EAT MORE FIBER
A diet high in fiber helps prevent constipation. It also supplies pregnant women with vitamins and antioxidants.
Pregnant women should try to consume 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber each day to stay regular and healthy.
Good choices include fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, bran cereals, prunes, and whole-grain bread.
Try cutting up some raspberries, apples, bananas, figs, and strawberries for a refreshing fruit salad. Or roast some sweet corn, Brussels sprouts, and carrots for a delightful side dish.
DRINK LIKE A FISH
It’s important to stay hydrated during pregnancy. That might mean doubling your water intake.
Pregnant women should drink at least eight 12-ounce glasses of water a day. This will help keep your bowels soft and moving smoothly through your digestive tract.
DON’T CHOW DOWN
Try breaking up your daily food intake into five or six smaller meals to help with constipation relief. This will allow the stomach to digest food without having to work overtime, and allow it to transfer food to the intestine and colon smoothly.
Eating large meals can overload your stomach and make it harder for your digestive system to process what you’ve consumed.
Regular physical activity can help reduce constipation. Exercise stimulates your bowels. Pregnant women should try to exercise three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes each.
The options for exercise are endless. Try walking down your favorite hiking path, swimming at your local gym, or practicing prenatal yoga on a relaxing afternoon.
Check with your doctor about what exercises are safe for you and your baby.
If other natural options have failed, doctors will sometimes prescribe stool softeners like Colace on a short-term basis to help pregnant women with constipation. Colace stool softeners are available online. However, long-term use can lead to dehydration or change your electrolyte balanceTrusted Source.
Stool softeners help moisten your bowels so they are easier to pass. They are especially useful for pregnant women taking constipation-causing iron supplements. Doctors will often prescribe softeners along with iron pills. You can find a variety of iron supplements here.
Stool softeners are medications, so it’s best to check with your doctor if they are safe for you.
Constipation relief during pregnancy is common, and it can be remedied.
Just follow the steps above to help ease the discomfort of backed up bowels while you wait for your little one to arrive.