How to Manage Constipation in Pregnancy
An insight into the causes of constipation in pregnancy, as well as how it can be effectively treated.
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN IN PREGNANCY?
Constipation is an unpleasant yet common complaint in pregnancy. In the early stages, it’s caused by the hormone progesterone. This causes the relaxation of muscles, including the intestines, so bowel motions can be slower which leads to constipation. Towards the end of pregnancy, the size of your baby can put pressure on the bowel, causing the occurrence of constipation. While for some pregnant people, taking iron supplements can be the reason.
MANAGEMENT AND CARE TIPS
- Ensure you’re drinking plenty of fluids. The recommendation in pregnancy is to drink to thirst, aiming for at least nine cups (or 2.3 litres) of fluid each day. If you get dehydrated, your stools will become dryer and harder to pass.
- Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables to increase your fibre intake. Dietary fibre helps to add bulk to stools and soften them for regular, easy bowel motions.
- Consider eating prunes, broccoli, rhubarb, kiwifruit, corn, dried fruits, and liquorice as these can stimulate the bowel and aid motions.
- Being active and exercising regularly throughout pregnancy can help relieve – and prevent – constipation.
- Don’t hold on; when you feel the urge to go… go!
- Improve your positioning on the toilet by using a product like the goodstool to decrease straining and ensure a quicker and more complete evacuation of your bowel.
- It’s important to avoid straining to reduce the chance of developing haemorrhoids.
- If you think iron supplements are the cause, talk to your LMC about taking iron bisglycinate. It is regarded as being just as effective as other iron supplements but can be better received as it has fewer gastrointestinal side effects.
- Contact your LMC if you are concerned about your constipation. In some cases, laxatives or other over-the-counter medications may be prescribed when required.