Constipation during pregnancy is quite common, with the problem affecting as many as 50% of pregnant women at some point or another during their term. One of the reasons that constipation is experienced during pregnancy points to an increase in levels of progesterone, leading to smooth muscles relaxing throughout the body which includes the digestive tract. With the muscles in the digestive tract relaxed, food in the intestines passes through more slowly. The resulting constipation may also later on be compounded by additional pressure in the abdominal area as the baby grows.
The good news is that while being pregnant puts a woman in a delicate situation, constipation during this period can be addressed with the usual remedies that ordinary people can turn to in order to promote bowel movement. Some of the things you can do to alleviate constipation when you’re pregnant include:
- Increasing fiber intake. You can easily increase your intake of fiber by loading up on whole grain breads and cereals, beans, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables. It may take a couple of days to see any difference when you increase your fiber intake but things should move along in no time because of the increased fiber in your system.
- Drinking a lot of water. Increasing your fiber intake should go hand-in-hand with drinking a lot of water because fiber needs water in order to work. Fiber absorbs water as it forms stool so drinking a lot of water helps to ensure that your stool won’t end up too hard, worsening the constipation instead of relieving it. Drinking water is also generally good for the body so there’s no harm in drinking a lot of water, especially when the weather is warm.
- Exercising regularly. Moving about massages your intestines, helping the digestive process along so it not only aids in addressing constipation but it may also help prevent it from happening in the first place. Just make sure that the exercises you do are not too strenuous as that may cause discomfort instead of relief.
- Watching your vitamins. Some vitamins cause constipation so what you’re taking may be the reason why you’re experiencing constipation during pregnancy, with iron being the common culprit. If you feel that your supplements are making you constipated, talk to your doctor. Typically, you will be told to take iron supplements only when extremely needed and that each time you do should be accompanied by a gentle laxative to prevent constipation.
- Making time for the loo. As much as possible, heed the urge to go so you keep your bowel movements regular. Try to never put it off. Also, the bowels are likely to be active after a meal, so do schedule a trip to the bathroom after you have eaten. Make a habit out of it so you don’t forget.
Pregnancy and constipation doesn’t usually signify anything serious but it can be a symptom for an underlying condition, so don’t ignore it completely.
Another important thing to take care of when it comes to your digestive system is – maintaining the Probiotics in your gut. These digestive bacteria need to be nourished so that they can do their job properly. Including a good Prebiotic in your regimen can help ensure this.