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Constipation During Pregnancy: Experts Tells Its Causes & Preventive Measures

Pregnant women should follow a diet rich in fibre, drink enough fluids, and practise other healthy habits like exercising.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Jan 10, 2023 08:00 IST
Constipation During Pregnancy: Experts Tells Its Causes & Preventive Measures

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

Progesterone

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. 

Foetus

The foetus in your body makes your uterus heavy which adds pressure on your bowel. This causes difficulty for the waste to move out.

Lifestyle

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. 

Also Read: Causes Of Frequent Urination During Pregnancy And Ways To Manage It

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.

Drink Fluids

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. 

Exercise

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.

Managing Meals

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.

Probiotics

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. 

Also Read: Do Probiotics Really Help Improve Vaginal Health? Let’s Know From A Doctor

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. 

Bottomline

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.

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