How to Relieve Constipation during Pregnancy: 5 Methods that Work!
Have you even wondered how to relieve constipation during pregnancy? Constipation isn`t a strange thing for any of us, right? And as unpleasant as it is, sooner or later it`s present in our lives, especially in the 9 months of pregnancy.
Table of Contents
- 1 Causes
- 2 Symptoms of Constipation
- 3 5 Methods on How to Relieve Constipation during Pregnancy the Natural Way
Constipation appears especially in the first months of pregnancy, most of the times due to hormonal changes within the mother`s body. During the first trimester of pregnancy the level of progesterone increases which leads to a slower movement of the stool in the intestines. These hormones are released to relax muscles and ligaments, an essential procedure to prepare the woman`s body in order to make enough room for the baby and later for birth.
This is an issue faced by almost all pregnant women, more or less. During pregnancy, the digestive system slows its functioning and becomes “lazy,” but with a noble purpose: the intestines extract even the smaller particles of nutrients from food, drinks or vitamins. The fetus in full development needs all the nutrients to grow healthy, and the digestive system slows its rhythm especially for the baby to receive as much as he can get from what`s healthy. Because of this, the water is absorbed by the body rather than going to the stool, which will make the excrements drier, leading to constipation along with the weakening of the pelvic muscles. In addition, as the uterus grows, it will push on the bladder, aggravating constipation.
Constipation is accompanied by stomach burning in the first months of pregnancy due to the fact that the process of emptying the stomach now is slower and this leads to more gastric acid being secreted to help with the digestion.
Symptoms of Constipation
Constipation during the first pregnancy months is characterized by symptoms such as:
- Painful defecation
- Back pain
- Stomach burns
- Fatigue and sleepiness
Gas and bloating are common symptoms at pregnancy women, as well as the chances of developing hemorrhoids or rectum and anus due to straining, which may cause bleeding.
5 Methods on How to Relieve Constipation during Pregnancy the Natural Way
Your pelvic muscles are essential for a rapid elimination of toxins from your body. If they aren`t trained, even a normal stool can be hard to eliminate, not to talk about constipation.
You have probably heard about the Keigel exercises, simple physical movements that everyone can do and which are meant to increase the efficiency of the pelvic muscles. These exercises involve tensioning the pubococcygeus muscle as hard as you can, then relax it for 10 seconds. The easiest way to do this type of exercises is to interrupt the flow of urine, tense the pubococcygeus muscle, then the flow of urine stops, maintain this state as much as you can, then relax for 10 seconds and start over. Training your pelvic muscles will help you not only eliminate your stools easier, regardless if they are hard or soft, but also during labor.
In addition to daily exercise, doctors recommend moderate physical exercise, like walking or swimming for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 times per week. This helps digestion and emphasizes the general health and physical condition of the pregnant woman, preparing her for birth. And most active pregnant women claim that they have an easier and shorter labor, and they also recover their previous figure more easily after giving birth.
Considerable Fluid Intake
This is just as essential as the Keigel exercises because liquids are eliminated faster during pregnancy. Water is most of the time the favorite liquid compared with other beverages or coffee. In fact, coffee acts as a diuretic, worsening constipation, the same thing being true for alcohol or certain teas. Soups of any kind, fruit or vegetable juices are good sources of hydration. A cup of warm tea can trigger the stool.
Hydration is important for each of us, especially for pregnant women, who are in higher risk of dehydration than before the pregnancy. The water will soften the stools, making them easier to be eliminated. It`s recommended to drink 6 to 8 cups of waters per day if you are an adult, even more if you are suffering from constipation.
Food Rich in Fibers
Sources of fiber are cereals, pasta, bread, brown rice, fresh fruits and vegetables. The colon uses fibers to form the volume of the stool. If the stool doesn`t have the proper volume, it won`t move fast enough through the rectum, eventually drying itself. Foods rich in soluble fibers are important because bacteria from the digestive tract will transform them into mucus which will help stools to become softer and easier to eliminate. Insoluble fibers are derived from the cells of the plants` walls, and the human digestive system isn`t able to process them. These fibers pass into the colon and swell, giving the stool the required extent. A stool with a proper volume will lead to muscle contractions of the digestive tract, which will make the stool move along the rectum. In the absence of these specific fibers, the stool would move more slowly.
More than this, women who accuse a morning discomfort lose lots of fluids though vomiting. The ones that accuse the lack of appetite due to vomiting or nausea are also the ones who don`t consume enough fibers, which in turn may lead to constipation. It`s recommended to consume at least 30g of fibers every day to maintain a healthy intestine, which will mean 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruits (for example, a big apple has around 4g).
Don`t Push It!
If you restrain yourself too much or you go to the bathroom too often, you`ll run out immediately and you may cause yourself pain as well as hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are bundles of veins in the rectum`s exterior and are very uncomfortable. The common symptoms to hemorrhoids are pain, burning sensations and itching. Sometimes it may happen for hemorrhoids to bleed which may scare you. The discomfort caused by hemorrhoids is very unpleasant, making you to avoid the bathroom and eventually leading to constipation. So, relax yourself and let nature follow its course! Help yourself by a small chair that you can place in front of the toilet to rest your feet while defecating – this will relieve tension.
Medicine and Constipation – What Can You Take for Constipation while Pregnant?
Prenatal vitamins are ideal for you and your baby`s health, but sometimes they can lead to constipation. Iron, which is present in most prenatal vitamins, causes constipation – the stools have dark color and are sticky. However, iron is necessary to deal with fetal development and changes that start to occur within the mother`s body. It also maintains anemia in normal limits and is of real help for blood excess which is really needed during this period. Most of the times, a healthy diet that is rich in fibers helps to eliminate any form of constipation due to vitamins. There are also supplements which can help alleviate the symptoms, such as magnesium, vitamin C, dried or fresh prunes, even peaches.
It`s recommended to avoid laxatives as much as possible, no matter if natural or synthetic because active substances present in them cause intestinal contractions which may lead to uterine contractions. The body becomes addicted by the effect of laxatives, making from constipation a long-term issue after birth. Also, castor oil leads to uterine contractions even though is known as a good laxative, and mineral oils reduce the absorption of important vitamins for the pregnancy.
Get in touch with the doctor immediately if the constipation is accompanied by abdominal pain, diarrhea. Also, if the stool is accompanied by mucus, blood spots or is rare (once every 3 days) you should contact your doctor right away.
Severe Constipation during Pregnancy Remedies
- Ginger is one of the best remedies against constipation and indigestion during pregnancy. Add it raw to your diet!
- Garlic is good every time, even when you are pregnant. It helps to eliminate gas and sensations of bloating. It also strengthens the colon and alleviates constipation.
- Fresh and dry fruits or vegetables. Raw or slightly cooked, preferably with peel if possible. Cereals, bread, peas, beans are also good. You should remove white bread and refined rice as well if you can and choose bread from whole grains instead.
- It`s better to have 6 small meals per day than 3 big meals. You`ll be experiencing less gas and you`ll not feel so bloated all the time.
- The bravest pregnant women or the ones who are more affected by constipation can drink a glass of prune juice. It makes wonders.
So now you have improved your knowledge a bit and you have at least an idea of how to relieve constipation during pregnancy. Apply some of the methods above and try to get rid of your constipation.