Constipation During Pregnancy: Causes and Relief Tips
Pregnancy may be the most joyous period of your life, but you can’t deny the petty sufferings that leave no leaves unturned to make you uncomfortable. One of the small things that can bother you during your pregnancy along with the hormonal and physical changes can be constipation. Although, statistically only a quarter of pregnant women suffer from constipation, you may not turn out to be lucky all the time.
Constipation is the condition when you have irregular bowels and specifically have a hard time emptying bowels. It is more related with the hardened feces which result in giving a hard time during your morning bathroom routines. While the use of laxatives is not recommended during pregnancy, constipation can be quite bothersome at most of the times.
Causes of Constipation During Pregnancy
Usually, you can blame your changing hormonal levels for causing constipation during pregnancy while the following points can also be your culprits:
- Hormonal changes
Obviously, there are going to be some hormonal changes in your body while you are pregnant. In the course, some hormones can make your muscles in the stomach relax leading to less movement of bowels inside your digestive tract. Needless to say, this slowing down of bowel movement causes constipation.
Now that you are pregnant, your diet must be different from what you used to eat before pregnancy. If you are still not cutting down the refined flour products, there is a high chance that you may suffer from constipation.
The reason is, the refined products do not move through digestive tract faster enough to form a plaster like substance which ends up absorbing the liquids and thus hardening your bowel. So, you should consume food with less refined flour during pregnancy and eat whole foods instead to keep away from constipation.
Also, have your meals in small and frequent amounts as big meals can also make your metabolism slower helping you add the problem of constipation during pregnancy.
- Iron supplements
Iron supplements are one of the common reasons behind constipation during pregnancy. Usually, the iron supplements that you use do not get digested easily and move along with your bowels. In the process, iron causes your bowels to become greasy and tar-like which makes it hard for you to empty in the mornings. So, if you are having enough iron in your food and if you are not anemic, you should ask your doctor to reduce the amount of iron supplements during pregnancy.
Dehydration is one of the common causes of constipation, not necessarily during pregnancy. Needless to say, proper amount of water can soften your stool making it easy to empty bowels. And in the opposite condition, the lack of water can harden your stool and result in constipation. So, drinking more than 8 glasses per day can come to be very helpful during pregnancy.
If you think there are some other causes playing roles in constipation and if the constipation is severe and painful, it is advised that you seek medical help as soon as possible.
How to get rid of constipation during pregnancy?
As constipation is quite painful and adds a lot to your misery during pregnancy, you need to get rid of it as quickly as possible to make yourself at ease. Here are some home remedies that you might want to try out before you need to go to the doctor.
- Eat fiber-rich foods: Eating foods rich can actually help you strengthen your metabolism and loosen your stool making it easier to pass. During pregnancy, try to add more fiber-rich and protein rich foods and boycott the refined and processed food as much you can. This will surely help you get rid of constipation in less time.
- Drink up: As said earlier, drinking sufficient amount of water can loosen your bowel and help away with constipation. So, try and include good 8 glasses of water in your daily life.
- Exercise: Walking, stretching or using static cycles everyday can give your bowels movement making your stool pass easily during your time in the bathroom. So, may it be for a least amount of time as 20 minutes, do not wipe out exercise from your daily routine. Also, swimming can also be a soothing exercise which can benefit you enormously during pregnancy.
- Yoga: There are some types of yoga poses which can help you get rid of constipation during pregnancy. You can use the proper poses every day by asking your yoga instructor.
- Eat plenty of vegetables, protein and fat: Eating healthy diet during pregnancy can help you a lot to bid goodbye to painful constipation. Just be sure to add the cooked green vegetables and properly washed fruits to your diet every day.
Also, adding six spoons of good fats like butter, virgin olive oil should be added to your daily. You can also add 2 table spoons of monounsaturated oils like Cod liver oil, borage oil and such to your diet to make the digestive tract smooth and easy for your bowels.
- Make a proper bowel routine: Always try to make time for your bowels in the morning and drink warm fluids before going to toilet. Also, never hesitate to use washrooms whenever you feel the urge as your body can give you the perfect signs and listening to it can help you get rid of constipation in no time.
- Medications: You can also use over the counter medications under your doctor’s advice for constipation during medications. Although the use of laxatives is commonly forbidden during pregnancy, you can use Colace and Metamucil as these are not harmful for your pregnancy. Also, try adding more fiber-rich food to your diet while using these medicines. Note that these should be consumed only after getting the permission from your doctor or caretaker.
When to call a doctor?
Constipation during pregnancy can be painful but you can pretty much take care of it with some home remedies and lifestyle changes as mentioned above. However, if the pain is severe and you can feel swelling of veins (hemorrhoids) around the rectal area, this is high time you call your doctor and ask his suggestions.
In severe cases, there can be chances of hemorrhoids which usually disappear after delivery. But you do not need to feel the pain for months before your delivery and get yourself checked up by your doctor. Also, be strict on taking medicines only by the prescription of your doctor and do not use any over the counter medications while you are pregnant.
Do share your experience on how you eased constipation during pregnancy in the comments below!