Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy, but there are several ways to avoid it. Here are some tips:
What Causes Constipation During Pregnancy?
As with many other pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy hormones are the culprit behind constipation. Progesterone causes the muscles in your bowels to relax, allowing food to hang around longer in the digestive tract.
The upside is that there’s added time for nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream and reach your baby. The downside is you end up with a waste-product traffic jam. Your expanding uterus also takes up valuable space normally occupied by your bowel, cramping its usual activity.
When Does Constipation Generally Start During Pregnancy?
Constipation tends to start as early as progesterone levels rise, around the second to third month of pregnancy. It may get worse as pregnancy progresses and your uterus grows.
How To Prevent Constipation:
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and other fluids like fruit juices, herbal teas, and soups. This will help soften your stool and make it easier to pass.
Eat high-fiber foods: Include plenty of fiber-rich foods in your diet like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes. These foods will add bulk to your stool and help prevent constipation.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help keep your digestive system working properly. You can try walking, swimming, or yoga.
Take a prenatal vitamin with iron: Iron supplements can cause constipation, so it’s important to choose a prenatal vitamin with a lower dose of iron or ask your doctor about taking a separate iron supplement.
Don’t delay bathroom breaks: When you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, don’t delay. Holding it in can lead to constipation.
Try natural remedies: There are several natural remedies that can help relieve constipation during pregnancy, such as prunes or prune juice, psyllium husk, or flaxseed oil. However, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider before trying any natural remedies.
Speak to your healthcare provider: If you’re experiencing severe constipation or are unable to relieve it, speak with your healthcare provider. They may recommend a safe and effective medication to help relieve your symptoms.
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.