Constipation and Pregnancy: Common Discomfort
Constipation is another of those really unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy. This is usually a direct result of the increase in the hormone progesterone, and this slows the movement of your food through your digestive system.
It usually also gets worse as your pregnancy progresses. As your developing baby gets bigger there is an increase in the pressure which is placed on your rectum. To make matters worse, iron supplements – which are usually give to pregnant who may be anemic – will make this condition worse.
Other causes of constipation during pregnancy?
There are other reasons which may bring about constipation, and these may include
- Worry or anxiety
- Lack of physical exercise
- A low-fiber diet
- Low intake of fluids
Preventing or treating constipation during pregnancy
As with most issues, prevention is the best form of treatment, but in reality most people are not concerned about prevention until they suffer from the condition. In this case though, prevention and treatment are one and the same. Preventing, or treating constipation would be done by doing the following
- Eat a high fiber diet: Ensuring that your diet is rich in fibre will help ease digestion. You should aim to consume 25-30 grams per day of fibre. Fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads are good sources, to name a few.
- Drink a lot of fluids: Drinking 10 to 12 glasses of fluid a day – preferably water – is important during your pregnancy.
- Exercise routinely: Following a regular exercise routine will reduce your chances of suffering from constipation. Of course there are other benefits for both you and your developing baby if you follow a regular exercise program both during and post pregnancy.
- Over-the-counter remedies: Over the counter products such as Metamucil may help you with constipation, but it is important that you always consult with your health care provider before taking any over the counter medication.
- Laxative pills are NOT recommended for the treatment of constipation during pregnancy.
Mineral oils should NOT be used during pregnancy.
- Reduce or eliminate iron supplements: If you are taking iron supplements then there is a good chance that you are going to suffer from constipation even if you are taking the above precautions. If you are eating a healthy diet then there is a good chance that you will not need to take additional iron supplements, unless your health care provider has specifically recommended that you do. Get your iron levels checked on a regular basis, as a good diet often results in taking a lower dosage of Iron, and thus reduces the chances of constipation.