Constipation And Pregnancy
The link between constipation and pregnancy is something that many pregnant women would like to know more about. As you might have worked out, women generally experience all sorts of symptoms for the first time during pregnancy and constipation is very often one of them.
Constipation is something that more than half of pregnant women suffer with, so if you are finding this to be a problem, you're not alone!
The Link Between Constipation And Pregnancy
One reason for the link between constipation and pregnancy is because the pregnancy hormones racing around your body slow down you digestive system to allow your body to absorb as many nutrients as possible from your food to help your growing baby.
Because of this, more water is absorbed from the food you eat and stools become dryer and more difficult for your intestines to move along and out of your body.
Also, the hormones serve to cause your muscles to relax in preparation for your pelvis being able to move during labour. This relaxing of muscles includes your bowel muscles and makes your intestines less efficient at moving stools along.
Another factor can be the multivitamins taken by a lot of women during pregnancy that include iron supplements. Extra iron intake can contribute to your body becoming dehydrated during pregnancy and constipation can become a problem as your stools becoming harder and less easy for your body to dispel.
For more information on constipation in general check out this Causes Of Constipation page from the Foods Healing Power website.
How To Ease Constipation
But what can you do to help this? If you are suffering with constipation and pregnancy is the cause, it can become very uncomfortable.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day - Keeping your body well hydrated will help prevent your stools from becoming so dried out and difficult to pass.
2. Keep doing your pelvic floor exercises - If you are not sure where your pelvic floor muscle is or how to exercise it, practise stopping your urine mid-flow. When you do this you are using your pelvic floor and this is exactly the clenching exercise needed. Every day squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for 10 seconds and then release for 10 seconds. Repeat this as much as you can. Strengthening your pelvic floor will help your body to pass stools efficiently.
3. Include plenty of fibre in your diet - Foods rich in fibre are cereals, whole grains, fresh fruit and veg, pasta and bread. Two sorts of fibre, soluble and insoluble will help with constipation. Soluble fibre is converted by bacteria in the intestines into a kind of gel, which makes stools softer and easier to pass. The human body cannot digest insoluble fibre, so it stays in the intestines giving stools bulk and enabling the muscles of the colon to squeeze against the stool and move it along.
4. Natural supplements can help ease constipation - Magnesium, vitamin C and prunes have been found to help with constipation during pregnancy, although it is probably best to consult a health professional to check how much to take. Be very careful with any laxatives, especially chemically derived ones as contractions in the colon can stimulate contractions in the uterus.
If, after trying these natural methods to ease constipation you are finding it to still be a problem, it is best that you see a doctor or talk to your midwife, as they will know a lot more about constipation and pregnancy and will likely have more suggestions on how to ease the problem.
What Not To Do
Because we are talking about constipation and pregnancy it is even more important to avoid any actions that could make it worse or cause any damage or harm to your baby.
If you are into your pregnancy and constipation is a problem then please avoid doing any of the following:
1. Do not strain to force stools out - During pregnancy the flow of blood to your veins increases, and because of this, straining can easily result in painful hemerroids (varicose veins that swell in or around the anus and can bleed and feel sore or itchy).
2. Do not take laxatives unless specifically prescribed by your doctor - Laxatives stimulate contractions in your colon and soften stools to make them easier to pass. During pregnancy, the stimulation of contractions in the colon can start contractions of the uterus and result in premature labour.
3. Do not drink too many sugary drinks or eat a lot of foods that contribute towards constipation - Drinking things like Cola, lemonade and other sugary drinks in place of water will make the problem worse. Also, eggs and a diet low in fibre will definitely contribute to constipation.
Hopefully, by avoiding these things and by trying some of the suggestions above you can combat your constipation and pregnancy will become more enjoyable for you.
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