Constipation in women during pregnancy is seen in most cases and the good news is it can be avoided if one follows a regular diet, exercise regimen and maintains a healthy lifestyle.
Pregnancy leads to a lot of changes in a woman’s body. Digestive problems like constipation are a common cause of concern among pregnant women. During this stage, you need to deal with the various changes your body undergoes, while preparing itself for the development of the baby. More than 80% of the women suffer from constipation during pregnancy and in most cases, the condition is not something to worry about. But there are ways through which constipation can be avoided, in this HerHaleness article we will look at some of these.
The growing baby inside the mother’s womb can contribute to constipation to a large extent. As the fetus grows it starts consuming more space in the mother’s stomach. Due to its growing size, stomach organs begin to feel pressure and some of them might even move a little from their original position, to accommodate the growing baby. The small intestine changes its position to allow the baby to grow but it starts to feel the pressure of the movement. All of these conditions have a significant impact on the digestive system of the woman, making her more prone to digestive problems such as constipation.
Preventing Constipation During Pregnancy
Progesterone is produced in high levels during pregnancy. Adequate levels of this hormone are essential for the maintenance of the womb, but excess levels can slow down the process of digestion and cause stomach muscles to relax, leading to constipation. Here are some useful tips to avoid constipation when pregnant.
Increase Fluid Intake
To ensure that women don’t suffer from constipation, doctors advise expecting mothers to consume 10 to 12 glasses of drinking water. Drinking 10 to 12 glasses will help in eliminating wastes from the body and aid in smooth digestion. Doctors strongly recommend the consumption of fresh vegetable and fruit juices in order to help the digestion and make bowel movements smoother.
Change in Diet
Expecting women facing digestion problems should definitely think of changing their diet but shouldn’t rush into it. It is always a good option to consult a nutritionist regarding which foods to consume and which to avoid, during pregnancy. A fiber rich diet can aid in healthy digestion.
Eating Smaller Meals
Eating large quantities of food at one time is detrimental to digestive health and might further complicate the problem of constipation. A woman’s appetite increases during pregnancy, but having large meals at once will only increase digestive problems. However, eating smaller meals would avoid constipation for good and help keep problems like bloating and gas at bay.
Laziness or lack of physical activity can also lead to a constipated stomach during pregnancy. Women feel fatigued when pregnant, plus there are many physical and hormonal changes that they face. Their daily activity and exercise regimen tends to be ignored. But exercise is essential during pregnancy, for both, the woman and her baby. A daily 10 minute brisk walk is advisable.
Avoiding Large Quantities of Iron
Consuming iron supplements in excess can contribute to constipation. For maintaining adequate iron levels in the body it is advised that pregnant women follow an iron rich diet. Doctors might advise iron supplements, but if artificial, should be taken in moderate quantities only. It is best to understand the iron requirement from a doctor and follow his advice.
Using Stool Softeners
Expecting mothers are advised to check with their doctors before taking any laxatives. Laxatives can flush out important nutrients from the body. However, there’s no danger in using stool softeners and most gynecologists suggest so. Stool softeners are not harmful for the growing fetus, they help in easy passing of stools, thus preventing constipation.
These were some effective ways through which pregnant women can avoid constipation. In rare cases constipation in pregnant women can be a symptom of something else, in cases of chronic constipation a doctor’s expert medical care is advised.