Constipation in pregnancy is a frequent occurrence , with about half of all pregnant women experiencing it at some stage. Constipation happens when there is stomach pain or nausea, when bowel motions are painful or infrequent, or when rough stools are passed.
WHAT CAUSES CONSTIPATION IN PREGNANCY?
Constipation may be caused by worry, fear, a lack of physical activity, and a low-fiber diet. Constipation occurs throughout pregnancy as a result of a rise of progesterone receptors, which stimulate the intestinal muscle, allowing food and waste to pass into the bloodstream more slowly.
Iron supplements may also trigger constipation. If you’re taking iron supplements, make sure you’re consuming lots of water. You will need to turn to a different kind of iron tablet, but you should first consult with your doctor.
HOW DO I AVOID OR TAKE CARE OF CONSTIPATION IN PREGNANCY?
Many of the measures used in the prevention and management of constipation are the same. Here are a few items you should do to either avoid constipation or cure it if you already have it:
- Eat a high fiber diet: Ideally, you can consume 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day from fruits, berries, breakfast cereals, whole-grain bread, prunes, and bran. This contributes to bulkier stools that are quicker to poop.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids is essential, particularly when increasing fiber intake to ensure softer stools. Per day, drink 10 to 12 cups of fluids. The mixture of a high fiber diet and lots of water is the most effective way to reduce waste. Sweat, hot/humid weather, and activity will all boost the need for fluids.
- Exercise on a regular basis: Becoming idle increases the chances of constipation. Walking, cycling, and other gentle workouts can stimulate the bowels and make the intestines function. Schedule 20-30 minutes of workout three days a week.
- OTC remedies: Over-the-counter products such as Metamucil (Category B) can help soften your bowel movements and relieve constipation. Before utilizing over-the-counter drugs, always consult with the doctor.
- Reduce or discontinue iron supplements: Iron supplements may cause constipation. During breastfeeding, good diet will also fulfill the iron requirements. Constipation may be reduced by consuming smaller amounts of iron during the day rather than all at once. Consult the doctor for testing your iron levels and getting advice on how to control iron consumption through breastfeeding. Here are several natural ways to get iron.
WHAT REMEDIES CANNOT BE USED DURING PREGNANCY FOR CONSTIPATION?
Laxative pills are not advised for the treatment of constipation during breastfeeding since they can trigger uterine contractions and dehydration. Consult the doctor before using an over-the-counter fiber replacement, laxative, or stool softener.
Since they decrease nutrient absorption, mineral oils can not be used during breastfeeding.
CONSTIPATION IN PREGNANCY EVER SERIOUS?
Usually not, but constipation during pregnancy may be a sign of something more. Contact the doctor or midwife right away whether you experience extreme constipation that is followed with stomach discomfort, alternates with diarrhea, or you pass mucus or blood.
Additionally, straining through a bowel movement or moving a rough stool may trigger or exacerbate hemorrhoids, which are enlarged veins in the lower abdomen. Hemorrhoids may be particularly painful, but they only cause major complications. They usually go away shortly after your baby is conceived. Contact the doctor whether the discomfort is serious or if you have rectal bleeding.
IS IT SAFE TO USE STOOL SOFTENERS TO HELP WITH PREGNANCY CONSTIPATION?
Stool softeners are commonly thought to be healthy to use during breastfeeding.
Constipation during pregnancy, described as experiencing less than three bowel movements a week, may be painful. Stool softeners, such as Colace, moisten the stool to help it flow more easily. Since the active ingredient in these drugs is only minimally consumed by the body, they are unlikely to affect a growing infant. However, see the doctor before taking some drug to relieve pregnancy constipation, including stool softeners and other forms of laxatives. Please remember that pregnancy constipation is often avoidable by dietary adjustments.
- Drink lots of fluids. Water is a safe option. Prune juice may also be beneficial.
- Make physical exercise a part of your everyday life. Being physically active can aid in the prevention of pregnancy constipation.
- Increase the fiber intake. Choose fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Try taking a fiber substitute, such as Metamucil, with the approval of your doctor.
If you take iron supplements, tell your doctor about your constipation. While iron is an essential resource during pregnancy, too much iron can cause constipation. When you are having an iron substitute, you will need to take a stool softener.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET CONSTIPATED
The safest defense is a three-pronged attack: a high-fibre diet, adequate fluid intake, and mild physical activity. We suggest at least five portions of fruits and vegetables and whole grains a day. That could be better said than done for some: However, there are plenty high-fibre foods available—dried berries, hummus, oatmeal, lentils, and bran, to name a few—that if you grow an allergy to one, you can easily replace it with another. Although it is advised that women consume 10 cups of beverages everyday during breastfeeding, if that amount of water seems excessive, be assured that other liquids qualify as well. Sometimes, something warm in the morning, such as herbal tea or hot lemon water, is sufficient to get things started. In terms of exercise, a regular 20- to 30-minute stroll may be sufficient to promote digestion. If you’re eating healthy and exercising enough and also experiencing constipation, Strydom recommends switching supplements before you discover one that’s less constipating. Additionally, a fiber substitute such as Metamucil may get you out of a pickle and is deemed healthy during breastfeeding. However, never use a laxative to relieve constipation without first seeing the health care professional. Relief on a long-term basis did not occur until after arrival.
POSTPARTUM CONSTIPATION—YOU’RE NOT DONE PUSHING YET
Delivery does not often indicate the conclusion of the constipation troubles. (And be warned: the first bowel movement after birth may be nerve-wracking. If you gave birth vaginally, the perineal region is already recovering, and you’ll want to avoid dislodging any stitches.) Postpartum constipation may be caused by a mixture of extra iron supplementation (to compensate for blood loss), drugs (in the case of a C-section), reduced movement (because, yeah, you just had a baby), and a perception of discomfort when straining to go. If this is the case, Wong advises using the same guidelines for pregnancy constipation: consume high-fiber meals (aim for 25 grams daily), stay hydrated, and walk around as often as possible.
5 TIPS TO PREVENT CONSTIPATION IN PREGNANCY
Constipation is described as the inability to have normal bowel movements (BMs). It is a normal pregnancy symptom. 1 You may not, though, have to suffer from constipation or irregular, rough bowel motions, as well as the resulting discomfort, when pregnant. There are some exercises you should do during breastfeeding to get things going to avoid constipation.
Certain pregnant women have constipation, which is usually due to the pregnancy hormones (which can slow the digestive system down). Others have constipation prior to birth, because the symptom is merely a progression and/or exacerbation of their pre-pregnancy condition.
Constipation may have additional adverse consequences. Certain individuals suffering from constipation experience hemorrhoids, which are bloated blood vessels in the rectum and may feel very painful (if they cause pain, itching, or bleeding).
Making a few lifestyle adjustments can help you prevent constipation or may alleviate existing constipation. Although not all can benefit from these steps, many people feel that routine cleaning helps maintain their bowels going.
Increase Your Water Intake
Simply consuming enough water per day will assist in increasing the frequency and ease of your bowel movements. Hydration is critical for all, but particularly during pregnancy. If you make a point of drinking enough water per day (which is generally sound health advice), you’re likely to get less constipation.
Eat More Fiber
Natural forms of fiber include a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as beans and other grains. These natural sources will assist you in maintaining a more frequent bowel movement. If you are still having constipation, you can find it beneficial to use prune juice as a natural laxative. Consuming a few prunes daily can also help avoid the condition.
Increase Your Exercise
Exercise is well-known for aiding in the daily movement of the bowels. There would not need to be an aerobics lesson or a multi-mile sprint. Simply increasing your daily activity will further strengthen your bowel functions.
This can be accomplished by biking through the neighbourhood or increasing the move count at work. That may be diving or dancing with a partner. Anything that has your body moving and your pulse rate up is beneficial for your physical wellbeing before and after birth.
Keep an Eye on Your Calcium Intake
Excess calcium may result in constipation. Calcium is present in a wide variety of foods and supplements, most notably dairy products. If you consume so much milk and cheese, you will experience constipation.
Sensitivities to foods may sometimes lead to constipation. Keep a diet diary to determine if some ingredients (such as dairy or gluten) are associated with episodes of constipation.
Consult a health care specialist About Medications
Certain medicines can increase your risk of constipation. One major source of iron during breastfeeding is iron-fortified prenatal vitamins, which are often used to help avoid anemia. If you are experiencing problems with your supplements, inquire with your supplier about switching. Additionally, you may need to investigate dietary methods of preventing anemia.
According to one report, some brands of prenatal vitamins could be able to significantly minimize constipation by up to 30%.
Constipation drugs are available, although they are typically used as a last resort.
This prescriptions are especially dangerous during breastfeeding, and you should still consult your doctor or midwife before taking it, even though it is over the counter (OTC).
You may have used fiber tablets and laxatives prior to being pregnant to better alleviate the debilitating effects of constipation. These treatments, though, are not necessarily healthy or reliable when breastfeeding. Consult a health care specialist to determine the safest course of action for you.