You may be one of the many women experiencing constipation during pregnancy. Constipation is a digestive condition caused by your colon’s inability to pass stool. When the colon cannot absorb enough water to push out waste, it hardens and makes it hard to eliminate stool.
During pregnancy, finding ways to eliminate waste is crucial. Changes in hormones significantly contribute to constipation during pregnancy. Higher levels of hormones not only relax your bowel muscles, but they also cause your digestion process to slow down. Uterus expansion, additional pressure on your womb and even prenatal pills contribute to trouble using the bathroom.
Eliminating Constipation During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, many commercial solutions cause side effects for pregnant women, making it difficult for women to find a cure for their constipation. Luckily, there are a number of pregnancy-safe home remedies worth trying:
More Fiber-Rich Foods
One of the easiest ways to eliminate stool is to incorporate more foods with a high fiber content into your diet. Fiber-rich foods also increase your vitamin and antioxidant intake, meaning you won’t have to rely on as many supplements. Eating beans, broccoli and fresh fruits is a great, simple way to reduce constipation symptoms. Popcorn also works wonders for constipation, so you can pass bowel movements and take care of your salty cravings.
If you’re having trouble going to the bathroom, take a moment to reflect on your daily fluid intake. Hydration is crucial during pregnancy, so you should at least double your daily water intake. Water helps soften your bowels. Once you begin drinking more water, it shouldn’t take long to begin using the restroom on a regular basis.
When you’re pregnant, it’s easy to eat a lot of food. When your body doesn’t have enough time to digest food between meals, it backs up, causing constipation. Since you already have some pregnancy-related digestive delays, take control by paying attention to your everyday eating habits.
An effective method of using your food to pass a bowel movement is by eating smaller portions. Instead of eating three large meals and snacks, break them into five or six smaller meals. This puts less strain on your colon and helps you eliminate waste more quickly.
Increased Daily Motion
Pregnancy can be hard on your body. While you may feel fatigued and wish you could lounge around, it’s a good idea to get up and get moving. Moving around acts as a bowel stimulant, so you’ll have better luck going to the bathroom after some exercise.
As a pregnant woman, you should exercise at least three times a week for twenty to thirty minutes per session. It’s important not to put too much physical stress on your body, so check with your healthcare provider about which exercises are safe. Walking, prenatal yoga and stretching are among the easier healthy workouts.
If you’ve tried the natural approach to no avail, you may have to use over-the-counter solutions. If your constipation during pregnancy occurs when you take iron supplements, many healthcare professionals recommend stool softeners. Stool softeners make it easier to defecate because they add moisture to harder colon waste.
The active ingredient responsible for softening your stool won’t harm your little one since it isn’t absorbed into your body in high amounts.
It’s important to use this option in moderation. Stool-softener overuse leads to side effects including dehydration, cramping, stomach pain and diarrhea. If this occurs, discontinue use and speak to your doctor immediately.
Your doctor may also recommend you to take probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that assist your body with conditions like constipation. You can often find probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt or kimchi. However, if your pregnancy hormones cause your body to reject these, you can take an over-the-counter supplement.
Constipation during pregnancy isn’t fun, especially when paired with other hormone-related symptoms. By following the suggested steps, you can ease the strain on your colon and regularly eliminate waste. Of course, speak with a healthcare professional before trying over-the-counter treatment options or starting a workout regimen.
Related Content: The Role of Protein During Pregnancy
Most women recognize that the foods they eat play a huge part in helping their child to grow in the uterus. The quality and composition of foods eaten during pregnancy is just as important as the amount of food eaten. Protein is particularly useful because it helps to form new cells and build the body of the fetus.