What Can Pregnant Women Take for Constipation?
Constipation during pregnancy is one of the problems that can really cause unpleasant things.
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One of the causes of constipation while pregnant is progesterone. This hormone slows digestion. Another cause of this situation is the pregnant woman`s uterus which is growing and, therefore, compresses the intestines, making the intestinal transit a real challenge. If constipation is left untreated, this will lead to another unpleasant side effect of pregnancy – hemorrhoids.
Pregnant women with severe nausea and loss of appetite are more prone to constipation. Also, those who experience irritable bowel syndrome or they passed through frequent episodes of constipation before pregnancy, are more likely to experience this side effect of pregnancy.
On the list of the causes that trigger constipation is anemia and iron supplements, lack of hydration and poor diets that don`t contain fibers.
Remember: We cannot talk about constipation if the elimination of the stool doesn`t take place on a daily basis and the stool has a regular consistency.
Constipation represents the difficult elimination of the stool, which has a hard consistency and which also brings the sensation of an incomplete removal of the stool.
These represent symptoms of constipation;
- Weight loss;
- Abdominal cramps and pains;
- Rectal pains;
- Fatigue & drowsiness;
- Difficulties when eliminating the stool.
To avoid these moments brought by constipation during pregnancy that are really unpleasant, it`s recommended to have a diet rich in fibers that would bring your organism around 25 g – 30 g of fibers daily. Fibers can be found in whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, dried plums or bread from whole flour. Hydration should be done every day in several glasses per day distributed evenly throughout the entire day. In addition, iron supplements, even if they were recommended by the doctor, can be reduced or even eliminated completely if you notice they aggravate constipation during pregnancy. Instead of iron supplements you can choose foods rich in iron, such as fish, beef meat, spinach, cabbage, strawberries, beans, parsley, yellow pumpkin or figs.
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As much as possible and definitely under the doctor`s supervision, physical exercises are recommended., Swimming, walking on long distances, cycling – they all are of great use when attempting to prevent constipation.
What Can Pregnant Women Take for Constipation?
Nutrition Rich in Fibers
Sources of fibers in our diets are bread, cereals, pasta, whole rice, fresh fruits and vegetables. The colon uses fibers to form the stool`s volume. If the stool doesn`t have the necessary volume, it doesn`t move fast enough in the rectum, drying out. Foods rich in soluble fibers are important, as bacteria from the digestive tube will transform them into mucus, which help the stool become softer and easier to eliminate. Insoluble fibers come from the plant wall cells, and the human digestive system can process them. These fibers pass through the colon and swell, offering to the stool the proper volume. A stool with a proper volume leads to muscle contractions of the digestive tube, which makes the stool move along the rectum. If there are no fibers, the stool would move much slower.
More than this, women who experience morning sickness lose a lot of liquids through vomit. The ones accusing a lack of appetite due to vomit and nausea are the ones who don`t consume enough fibers, increasing the risk of constipation. It`s required 30 g of daily fibers to maintain a healthy intestine and in good functioning, which translate by 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruits (for instance, a big apple has around 4 g of fibers).
Considerable Intake of Liquids during Pregnancy
It`s a condition just as essential as Kegel exercises, as liquids are eliminated much faster during pregnancy. Water is the favorite liquid of any beverages and the ones that contain caffeine. In fact, caffeine acts as a diuretic, worsening constipation, the same thing being true for alcohol and other teas. Soup or any kind, fruit and vegetable juices are good sources of hydration. A hot cup of tea may trigger constipation.
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Hydration is essential for each of us, but especially for pregnant women, who are in more danger of dehydration than before pregnancy. In addition, the water introduced in our organism will soften stools, making them easier to be eliminated. Six to 8 glasses of water per day are recommended for adults, and even more for those who experience constipation.
Exercise Daily to Strengthen your Muscles
Pelvic muscles are very important for rapid elimination of toxins from your body. If they are untrained, it can be hard even to eliminate a normal stool, not to mention constipation.
Perhaps you heard about Kegel exercises, simple actions that anyone can do, meant to increase the efficiency of the pelvic muscles. This type of exercises involves strengthening the pubococcygeus muscles as much as possible, then relaxing for 10 seconds. The simplest way to do these exercises involve interrupting the flow of urine: while urinating, strengthen your pubococcygeus muscles, the flow of urine stops, maintain this state as much as possible, then relax for 10 seconds and then start over. By training pelvic muscles, it will help not only to eliminate stools more easily, either hard or soft, but it could help with labor as well. – Read more!
Among the daily exercises, doctors recommend moderate physical activity (20 – 30 minutes of swimming or walking, 3 times per week). It helps digestion, accentuate the state of well-being and physical shape of the pregnant woman, preparing her for childbirth. And most active expecting mothers claim they had a shorter and easier labor, and that they recover much faster after birth.
Don`t Force Yourself!
If you abstain too much or you visit the toilet too often having the thought of eliminating a stool, you`ll exhaust yourself quickly, you`ll cause yourself pain and hemorrhoids in the end. Hemorrhoids are a bunch of veins located outside the rectum and which are very uncomfortable. The common signs of hemorrhoids are pain, itching and burning. Sometimes hemorrhoids bleed, which may very well concern you. The discomfort created by them is very unpleasant, making you to avoid the bathroom and, therefore accentuating constipation.
So relax yourself and let nature run its course! Help yourself by a small chair or stool placed in front of the toilet that you can use to support your legs. It will relieve you of tension.
Drugs & Constipation
Prenatals are ideal for your health and the baby`s health, but sometimes they can trigger constipation. Iron, which is present in most prenatal vitamins, leads to constipation, the darker and sticky stools being the result of a diet rich in iron. However, iron is necessary for the development of the baby as well as the changes that occur in your body. They maintain anemia in normal limits and helps the blood that is in excess during this period quite a lot. Most of the times, a healthy diet that is rich in fibers helps to eliminate any form of constipation caused by vitamins. There are also other supplements that can help you relieve the symptoms, such as psyllium, magnesium, vitamin C, peaches and plums (fresh or dried).
Laxatives will be avoided as much as possible, either synthetic or natural, as the active substances present in them may cause intestinal contractions which, in turn, cause uterine contractions. The body becomes dependent of the effect of laxatives, making from constipation a long-term issue after birth. Also, castor oil, although known as a good laxative, causes uterine contractions, and mineral oils reduce the absorption of the essential vitamins for pregnancy.
The doctor should be consulted if constipation is accompanied by abdominal pains, episodic diarrhea, stools with mucus or blood, or rare stools (once every 3 days).