Pregnancy constipation is one of the most common symptoms that expecting would-be moms usually have to experience. But, not all pregnant women experience the same. Some women are fortunate and they never have to deal with sluggish intestines and ireregular bowel movements during the entire nine months.
Constipation during pregnancy occurs mainly because of hormonal changes that take place in a pregnant woman’s body. These changes often result in a “lazy bum”, as the muscles in the bowels tend to get relaxed on the job. However, in all fairness, there is a good reason for it – your body is adjusting itself in a way that makes it possible for the food you eat to stay around longer in order to ensure both you and your baby absorb more nutrients.
Since your uterus is also growing fast, it results in more pressure on your bowel, which may eventually lead to constipation. But, there are plenty of things you can do to make things more comfortable for you. Here’s how.
Know What To Eat And What To Avoid
When it comes to fighting against pregnancy constipation, fiber is your best ally. So, focus on eating dried fruits, legumes (beans and peas), breads, whole-grain cereals, and fresh vegetables and fruits. You can get better results by eating lightly cooked vegetables, preferably with skin left on. At the same time, you must avoid refined food as much as possible because such foods can clog up the works.
Change Your Diet Plan At The Right Pace
If you are not used to a fiber-rich diet, you should not plunge right into it, as it may result in bloating and gas. So, do not overload all your meals with fiber-rich foods, such as a heaping bowl of beans, a salad, brown rice, and steamed broccoli and then prunes for dessert. A better strategy is to start slowly. For example, you can have brown rice and steamed broccoli with chicken.
Take 6 Smaller Meals Instead Of 3 Large Ones
Large meals are not good for your digestive tract and it may further increase the problem of pregnancy constipation. When you eat frequent smaller meals instead of 2-3 big meals, it will avoid constipation, and at the same time, it will also be very helpful in preventing bloating and gas.
Drink, Drink, Drink
In order to allow the food to move along inside you freely, you must drink plenty of water and vegetable and fruit juices. You must drink at least ten to twelve glasses of fluids every day. It will also help in softening the stool, making the bowel movement much easier. Lemon and hot water can also be very helpful in this regard. However, if things are highly miserable, you have to be a little brave and drink a glass of prune juice.
Plan Your Bathroom Timings Carefully
Expecting moms who are working must be very careful while they are scheduling their bathroom timings. For example, if you leave for work at 8 O’clock in the morning, you should drink your prune juice and eat fiber-rich foods by 7 am. Likewise, if you go to work in the evening, you should down a bag of apricots only after you get back to home. This way, the “mood will not strike” and you wont feel rushed while you are at work.
Be Informed About Medications And Supplements
If you are already taking certain medications and supplements, you must consult your doctor about it, as some medications can exacerbate the problem of pregnancy constipation. For example, you should generally avoid iron supplements. Your health care provider can suggest you some alternatives, such as slow-release iron supplements. Follow your doctor’s advice thoroughly until the condition improves. It is possible to fulfill your iron needs through proper intake of nutritious food.
Practice Regular Exercise
Inactivity is one of the most common reasons that cause constipation during pregnancy. Therefore, regular exercise, such as walking, can be very helpful in improving bowel movements. Just a 10-minute walking per day in the morning can make a great difference. So, plan to wake up with a handful of raisins and nuts followed by a brisk stroll.
Try High-Powered Fiber If Things Are Still Not Working
If your bowel movement is still not ok, you may consider taking psyllium, wheat-bran and other high-powered fibers in your diet. But, make sure you first consult your doctor about it. Again, you must wade in slowly; try a sprinkle in the beginning to avoid “explosions”. You must follow your doctor’s advice and the package directions thoroughly. In general, if you consume breakfast cereals, whole grain bread, fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, you will easily be able to get around twenty-five to thirty grams of fiber every day.
Avoid Consumption Of Too Much Calcium
If you are facing the problem of pregnancy constipation, you are strongly recommended not to consume more quantity of dairy foods than suggested by your health care provider. Though consumption of calcium is important, too much intake of it should be avoided, as it often results in hardening of the bowels, which eventually causes constipation.
Use Stool Softeners
You are advised to consult your doctor first before you use any type of laxatives. If you are using it without your doctor’s advice, it may sometimes turn out to be harmful for both your and your baby’s health. However, in general, there is nothing wrong in using simple stool softeners, especially when it has been suggested by your gynecologist. Simple stool softeners like colace and surfak do not have any adverse effects on the developing fetus because your body does not absorb the active constituents used in these softeners. These products instead simply make the stool easy to pass by adding moisture to it.
Avoid Over-The-Counter Remedies
There are plenty of over-the-counter remedies available to reduce the tendency of constipation during pregnancy and they are even advertised about a lot, but you are strongly recommended not to use them without your doctor’s advice. Overall, if you follow the above tips thoroughly and act as per your doctor’s suggestions, you can deal with the problem of pregnancy constipation quite comfortably.