To receive our newsletter please enter your email address below
Constipation is a very common pregnancy symptom. More than half of the pregnant women complain of constipation at some or the other stage of pregnancy. It causes abdominal discomfort, pain and often infrequent and hard stools.
What causes constipation during pregnancy?
Constipation is mostly contributed to the pregnancy hormones that relax the intestinal muscles. Also, as the pregnancy advances, there is an increased pressure of the growing uterus on the woman’s intestines. All this causes digested food to move slowly inside the intestines and makes you constipated.
Another factor that contributes to constipation is the pregnant woman’s diet. Changes in diet of a woman because of morning sickness can also cause constipation.
Lastly, if you are taking any iron supplements, it can constipate you. Iron tablets are taken by many to maintain optimum level of iron for the growing baby, which can cause hard stools. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement and change the present one if there are any problems.
Steps to reduce constipation
Diet: Your diet should contain a greater amount of fiber. Fresh vegetable and fruits like apple and guava must be a part of your diet. Also, consume wholegrain bread, and a variety of cereals and pulses. Consume at least 25 grams of dietary fiber each day, from different sources.
Intake of fluids: Drinking lot of water can end not only constipation but many other pregnancy-related problems. It will keep your body clear of all the waste. Drink lemonade, orange juice, ginger ale, coconut water and buttermilk.
Decaffeinate yourself: Do not consume sodas, colas, tea and coffee. All these are diuretics and increase the water retention in your body, making you feel more bloated and constipated.
Exercise: Staying active is the key to avoid such problems. Light exercising like swimming, walking will work the intestines as they stimulate the bowels. Hence, exercise regularly for at least 15-20 minutes. Also, it is important that you do exercise and yogasans in supervision and do not over-exert yourself.
Iron supplements: It is advised that you start taking more iron-rich foods rather than having iron supplements. These iron tablets can contribute to constipation and hence it is required that you always check with your doctor to see if the iron supplement is the culprit for constipation.
Can constipation be a severe problem?
Constipation does not cause any major problem to the pregnant woman. It is more of abdominal discomfort and inconvenience. If you are severely constipated, it can lead to hemorrhoids. These can also be treated and vanish on their own once the baby is born.