Constipation during pregnancy can start right from conception and then continue throughout it. Passing the dry, hard stool can be really bothersome, especially when you are pregnant.
Forcing the stool out increases pressure in the rectal segment of the intestines, aggravating the formation of hemorrhoids. Therefore, if you are trying to push the stool out with all your might, you might end up hurting yourself.
Constipation is an unpleasant pregnancy side effect. Making simple, modest lifestyle changes can provide relief. Your healthcare provider may also recommend medications that can assist. When you have your child, your symptoms will typically go away.
When does constipation start in pregnancy?
You may get constipation when your body’s hormone levels grow to support your pregnancy. Changes in your first trimester might happen as soon as the second or third month.
How common is constipation pregnancy
16 to 39 percent of pregnant women experience constipation at some point throughout their pregnancy. Constipation is most frequent in the third trimester when the fetus is at its largest and puts the most strain on your gut.
Constipation, on the other hand, can occur during all three trimesters. For up to three months after the baby is born, you may feel constipation.
Constipation pregnancy: What causes it?
Photo by Jonas Kakaroto
Hormonal changes cause constipation in pregnancy. Initially, the increased progesterone is the main culprit. However, excessive pressure on the intestines in the later stages of pregnancy also contributes to constipation. Constipation during pregnancy can be caused by the following factors:
The hormone progesterone is produced in greater quantities during pregnancy. Your intestines, or bowel, relax as a result of progesterone, making it easier for them to push waste out of your body.
Your body will have more time to absorb nutrients and fluids from your diet due to the slower speed. The longer food sits in your intestine, the longer your colon has to absorb fluids. The excrement becomes dried out and difficult to pass when you try to poop.
2. Your growing baby
Your uterus gets heavier as your fetus grows. This extra weight could put more strain on your digestive system, making waste elimination more challenging.
3. The iron from your prenatal vitamin
The iron in your prenatal vitamin helps to make blood, which carries oxygen throughout your and your baby’s body. Too much iron, on the other hand, may make it harder for microorganisms in your intestine to digest food.
Drinking enough water to dissolve the waste stuck in your intestine will only make things worse. The accumulation of waste can cause constipation.
Constipation is caused by a number of things, including what you eat, how much water you drink each day, and how much activity you get.
Most pregnant women don’t eat enough fiber, drink enough water, or exercise enough to help their digestive system eliminate waste.
Constipation pregnancy symptoms
It feels good to let go of a stool. Constipation is the polar opposite of diarrhea. If you’re constipated, you’ll notice:
- You can only poop once or twice a week.
- You’re struggling to poop since your stomach is swollen and gassy.
- When you poop, your stools are lumpy and firm. Because they’re so dry, passing them is a chore.
Hemorrhoids and anal fissures can be caused or aggravated by constipation. Both symptoms are frequent during pregnancy, much like constipation.
How is constipation during pregnancy diagnosed?
Your doctor may want to know how much you’re pooping and how your feces look. Other questions about your daily routines may help your doctor determine what is causing or aggravating your constipation. Your health-care practitioner might ask:
- On a daily basis, what you eat and how much you drink
- If you workout on a regular basis and get enough exercise
- What supplements or drugs do you take?
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Treatment of constipation in pregnancy
You can’t stop pregnancy hormones from making it harder to poop, but you can help.
Photo by Matilda Wormwood
Fiber helps to bulk up the item and convey it through your digestive system. There are various fiber-rich foods to choose from, including:
- To mention a few, berries, popcorn, beans, and legumes
- Dried fruit includes apricots, dates, prunes, raisins, and figs.
- Whole grains include oatmeal, quinoa, and amaranth.
- Nuts and seeds include almonds, chia, and hemp seeds.
- For example, berries, avocados, and pears
- cooked vegetables (easier to digest, yet rich in fiber)
To avoid constipation during pregnancy, it is best that you take good care of your diet. Consume a lot of fiber and drink at least eight full glasses of fluids every day.
Ask your physician about alternatives for your prenatal supplements that cause constipation. Constipation is part and parcel of pregnancy. It just needs to be managed well to avoid great discomfort.
Magnesium is an essential mineral for our systems to function; it regulates muscular contraction and aids with bowel evacuation. The most effective treatment for constipation in pregnancy is magnesium citrate, which works in almost all cases.
Read this article to choose a good magnesium supplement, or look at this post for magnesium-rich foods to include in your diet.
3. Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is a digestive health champion and one of the most natural treatments for pregnant constipation. It contains a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies can’t produce on their own.
Omega-3 fatty acids help manage the hormone prostaglandin, which is required for normal bowel movements and minimize inflammation in the intestines.
4. Coconut Oil
Another healthy fat that can assist with constipation is coconut oil. It’s high in medium-chain fatty acids, which provide rapid energy to the cells in your intestines, boost metabolism, promote bowel movements, and soften stools.
Its lubricating properties also aid in reducing intestinal friction. If necessary, start with 1 teaspoon and work your way up to 2 tablespoons per day.
Dehydration causes the body to suck water from the intestines, which can cause constipation during pregnancy. For pregnant women, it is suggested that they drink at least 10 (8-ounce) glasses of water every day.
6. Warm Liquids
Consider wearing only a T-shirt outside in the cold. You’re probably clenching your muscles and squeezing yourself as you fight the cold.
Imagine wearing the same T-shirt on a hot beach. You appear to be much more comfortable and at ease. Your intestines contract and hold onto their contents when you drink cold water, slowing down your bowel movement. Warm liquids help to calm your bowels and relieve constipation during pregnancy.
7. Moderate Exercise
To help with bowel movement, move your body. For 10-15 minutes of walking or yoga, you can relieve some of the symptoms of pregnancy constipation.
Photo by Daniel Reche
Exercises to relieve constipation in pregnancy
You may not feel like going to the gym when you’re behind, but exercise may provide the relief you need. Walking or running, for example, can help engage the muscles in your intestines and colon. Any type of physical activity helps the bowels move things along.
Constipation can be prevented and treated by including exercise in your daily routine. Weekly moderate aerobic activity of at least 150 minutes is advised.
This equates to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times each week. If that seems too challenging, start with a smaller goal. Try to get some physical activity every day to keep on track.
Pregnant women should exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Low-impact exercises that improve gastrointestinal motility during pregnancy include:
- Bicycle that does not move
- Water aerobics
8. Prebiotics and probiotics
In one study, inulin, a prebiotic fiber, was found to relieve constipation and increase stool frequency. Another study suggests taking probiotics, particularly B. lactis and L. lactis Change gut flora to ease constipation while simultaneously increasing the number of feces produced each week with lactis reuteri.
9. Safe fiber
Many commercial fiber supplements are harsh, producing bloating, discomfort, and even diarrhea in some people. On the other hand, this fiber is safe, soft, and tasteless.
In experiments, this plant increased bifido bacteria in the colon, which is good for the baby when he or she comes through the birth canal and picks up mom’s good bacteria.
10. Fermented food
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, two of the most common and beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi), are known to aid digestion, particularly constipation.
11. Digestive bitters
Bitters are respected in many cultures as a key component of intestinal health. Why? Bitters are believed to naturally promote the production of saliva, gastric juices, and bile, all of which aid in the relief of constipation symptoms in pregnancy. Examples include raw apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice, grapefruit, and dandelion tea.
12. Homeopathic Remedies
Some of the most effective homeopathic therapies for constipation are Bryonia, Silica, Calc-cabonica, Lycopodium, Nux-vomica, and Causticum. Compare your symptoms to those on this list to choose the right one for you.
When certain parts of the body are aroused, the organ associated with that location becomes active. Applying pressure to the perineum can help relieve constipation, according to small research. Watch this video to learn how to use acupressure to relieve constipation.
Yes, worry and stress can affect one’s digestive system. When your nervous system is overworked, your entire body might become tense. Take a deep breath, go for a nice walk, bathe in a bubble bath, or do anything else that you find peaceful and meditative.
Consult your doctor
You can reduce your odds of becoming constipated by doing the same things you would manage constipation. Keep track of the amount of fiber you ingest and the amount of water you consume.
Make an exercise schedule that you are happy with. Walking, swimming, yoga, pilates, and mild aerobics are all excellent exercises for keeping your intestines flowing.
Consult your doctor if you’ve been constipated for more than a few weeks. You won’t have to be afraid of going to the bathroom if your doctor can help you.
Your doctor must approve any medication you take while pregnant. Laxatives and fiber supplements are examples of this.
Updates by Margaux Dolores