Many women don’t realise that constipation can be a common symptom of pregnancy, particularly if you have a slow moving bowel already.
Just because you are pregnant, does not mean you need to tolerate the discomfort of being constipated, we can & should work to alleviate your symptoms
Why do I get more constipated during pregnancy?
Your bowel slows down during pregnancy for many reasons. Some of these reasons are good and some are less so.
The Good Stuff:
When food moves through your system a little slower, your body has the opportunity to uptake more nutrients from your food (more nutrients for you and your baby is a good thing). In the opposite way to fast moving bowels (diarrhoea) where the bowels move so quickly that much nutrient is lost.
The Bad Stuff:
When you’re constipated, your body can also reabsorb extra fluid from your stool which in turn leaves your poo dehydrated and more difficult and uncomfortable to pass. When this occurs, you will likely become constipated and uncomfortable.
If you have started taking iron tablets you might also find that you are more constipated, your poo will also be darker. This can also be the case with some pregnancy multivitamins.
What to do if you are pregnant and constipated:
- Increase your fluid intake (non caffeinated drinks) and aim to drink 2-3 litres a day during your pregnancy. This can help to improve your bowel function and help you to poo more comfortably. If you’ve got symptoms of morning sickness, drinking this amount may be difficult, so consider smaller steps i.e If you are currently having only one cup of water per day, make it two, because every bit of fluid will help.
- Check the levels of fibre in your diet. Make sure you are eating fruits and vegetables with high fibre content and include wholegrain foods, breakfast cereals with added fibre. Prunes and bran can be a good choice.
- Keep moving. The less you move the greater the chance of being constipated. Be as active as you can. If you have morning sickness and are not feeling well, short gentle walks will still be beneficial.
- You may find a fibre supplement beneficial to help soften your poo and make it easier to pass.
- Consider drinking mineral water. Mineral water contains magnesium, which can help relax the muscles of the intestine and also draws fluid into the bowl.
- Maximise your position on the toilet by elevating your knees higher than your hips. Try resting your feet on a foot stool, leaning forward this helps to engage the right muscles to open your bowels and deep breathe.
Not all laxatives are safe to take in pregnancy. If you have tried the ideas above, but are still suffering, call the rooms to ask for an appointment to discuss your personal health needs.