Constipation during pregnancy is prevalent and occurs in most women. It can cause discomfort and may make your pregnancy unpleasant. It happens when you face abdominal pain, slow and difficult bowel movements, and you pass hard stools. This is because the hormone responsible for pregnancy also increases the risk of you being constipated. In addition, the growth of the foetus, not taking enough fibre and dehydration can also cause constipation in women. We talked to our expert Dr. Ruchika Agarwal, gynaecologist, about the causes and tips to prevent constipation during pregnancy.
Causes Of Constipation During Pregnancy
The production of progesterone by your body increases during pregnancy, which affects your intestines or bowel. This hormone relaxes your intestines, which slows down the digestion process. As a result, there is a slow movement of food waste through your system.
The foetus in your body makes your uterus heavy which adds pressure on your bowel. This causes difficulty for the waste to move out.
Your lifestyle plays a significant role in pregnancy, and not drinking enough fluids, exercising and eating fibre can result in constipation.
Medicines & Supplements
Taking too much iron, calcium, and vitamin supplements can also cause constipation in women when they are pregnant. In addition, medicines given for nausea, vomiting, and heartburn can also add to this cause.
How To Treat/Prevent Constipation During Pregnancy
You can treat or prevent constipation by following some of these steps.
Diet Rich In Fibre
Pregnant women should maintain a healthy diet, full of fibre. Add fruits, beans, lentils, cereals, whole grain bread, vegetables, and bran to your diet. This will make the passage of your bowel movement easier.
You should drink an adequate amount of fluids along with eating foods rich in fibre. This will help soften your stool and promote easy bowel movement.
The chances of constipation increases when you are not physically active. When you are physically active, there is an ease in your bowel movement. You can practise moderate exercises or go on a walk to avoid constipation problems.
Instead of eating heavy meals, you should break them into smaller meals. This will also reduce bloating and gas. Eating a heavy meal slows down your digestion process.
Consuming probiotics when you are having constipation can be beneficial as it restores intestinal bacteria. This helps break down food easier and eases bowel movement.
When To Visit A Doctor
Constipation in pregnancy is usually not considered a serious problem. However, you should visit your doctor if you face severe constipation, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, and bleeding.
Pregnant women should follow a diet rich in fibre and drink enough fluids and other healthy practices like exercising. You should also avoid using stimulating laxatives and stool softeners during pregnancy. Before taking any medications, consult your doctor. If constipation gets severe and causes bleeding, vomiting, and abdominal pain, consult your doctor immediately. Moreover, women with constipation problems before pregnancy may face worsening conditions when they are pregnant.