Persistent Constipation During Early Pregnancy
If you have tried the above tricks and are still struggling with constipation, talk to your doctor or midwife. There may be laxatives that are safe to take during pregnancy. Just dont take any medications, supplements, or other remedies without discussing it with your healthcare provider beforehand.
Ultimately, constipation can be annoying and uncomfortable, but fortunately does not pose a risk to you or your little one. Work with your provider to find relief, and get back to enjoying your pregnancy.
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What Prescription Constipation Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy
Most constipation medications are available OTC, but a few are available only with a prescription. However, many prescription constipation medications are questionable or unsafe to use during pregnancy. This is because there’s limited information about them during pregnancy. Pregnant women are often excluded from research studies.
But osmotic laxatives have side effects that limit their use. For example, lactulose may cause uncomfortable bloating, gas, and nausea. It may also cause electrolyte imbalances. Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are important for the normal function of your cells. Even slight changes may cause serious harm.
What Can I Take For Constipation During Pregnancy
If you have tried some of these natural pregnancy constipation remedies, but are not finding the relief that youre looking for, you may be wondering if you can take a laxative to help move things along. Always talk to your midwife or doctor about your constipation before taking any over-the-counter products.
There are a few different options when considering laxative medication for constipation in pregnancy, lets take a look at these options:
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What Can I Do If I Become Constipated
The first thing to try is to increase the fiber in your diet, drink a lot of water, and exercise regularly. You can also try prunes and prune juice, as these things help to speed up elimination. If these things do not help, see the safe medications page during pregnancy. If you are unable to pass a bowel movement, have severe abdominal pain or rectal bleeding, you should contact your physician.
Can Constipation Hurt The Baby
Many pregnant women who experience pain from constipation will have this concern, but constipation in pregnancy will not hurt your baby.
Another good thing to know if you do end up using a OTC laxative : most laxatives are not well absorbed into body and have not been shown to be a risk to the baby.
The real concern is for the mother herself, not the baby. In some cases, pregnancy constipation can lead to more uncomfortable and serious symptoms of pregnancy, including hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding, fecal impaction, and rectal fissures. Oh, the joys of pregnancy! But take heart, most moms find relieve to their constipation in pregnancy with natural remedies.
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Best Food To Relieve Constipation In Pregnancy
Watermelon, high-fibre foods, magnesium supplements, lemon, water, oranges, prune juice, chia seeds, flax seeds, berries, kiwis, pears, beans, cereal, apples, guava and spinach are some of the foods that relieve constipation in pregnancy.
Many women have constipation before they get pregnant, but with the increase in hormones and pressure of the womb against the bowels, the problem can get considerably worse. Luckily, there are some tried-and-true natural ways to get things flowing again, without resorting to counter drugs that can harm a developing baby.
Due To Iron Supplements
One of the causes of constipation in pregnant women is increase in iron due to the precribed supplements.
Though constipation can be a cause of discomfort, it is easily remedied by a simple diet and lifestyle changes and a few easy home-remedies. While some offer immediate constipation relief during pregnancy, others help you get better gradually. Here are some remedies to help relieve constipation during pregnancy.
Is Constipation An Early Sign Of Pregnancy
Constipation may not occur early in many of you, during your pregnancy. However, if some of you might be trying for a baby and suddenly notice that youre facing difficulty while pooping, almost around the time when your period is due, that might be a tip-off. Therefore, for some of you, constipation is indeed an early sign of pregnancy.
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Here Are Some Tips For Easing Constipation During Pregnancy
Eat high-fibre foods such as whole-grain cereals and breads, brown rice, beans, and fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Adding a couple of tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your cereal in the morning and following it with a glass of water can help. Be patient as it may take a few days before you notice a difference.
Dont forget to drink plenty of water. Try to drink 10 cups of water or other beverages every day. Your urine should be clear or pale yellow a sign of proper hydration. You can always try some prune juice. Some people find that drinking a warm beverage right after waking up helps too.
Iron can cause constipation. You may want to check with your health care provider about switching to a supplement with less iron.
Another pregnancy tip: your bowels are most likely to be active after meals, so make time for the bathroom after you eat. Listen to your body. Never put off going to the bathroom when you feel the urge.
Moving might also help to get things moving. Exercise regularly. Walk, swim, ride a stationary bike, and do yoga. All of these can help ease constipation and leave you feeling more fit and healthy. And if none of the above helps, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter fibre supplement or stool softener. Do not use a laxative without checking with your doctor or nurse first. Laxatives can trigger the onset of labour contractions.
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While Constipation During Pregnancy Is Uncomfortable & Unfortunately Common There Are Several Ways To Treat It & Ease Discomfort
Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms experienced by pregnant women. In fact, constipation during pregnancy affects up to 40 percent of women.
Experiencing constipation while pregnant can mean passing hard stools, at times painfully. It can also mean having less frequent bowel movements and involve additional symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, cramping and flatulence.
Why do women experience constipation during pregnancy?
The main reason pregnancy is thought to cause constipation is due to pregnancy hormones relaxing the bowels and causing them to work more slowly.
How do you relieve constipation during pregnancy?
As constipation can cause discomfort during pregnancy, its best to treat or prevent it whenever possible. Some tips that may help to relieve constipation during pregnancy include:
Eating foods that are high in fibre, such as wholemeal breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, and pulses, such as beans and lentils. You should aim to consume about 30 grams of fibre per day
Exercising on a regular basis. Walking, swimming or other exercise can help to stimulate your bowels
Drinking plenty of water try to drink six to eight glasses of fluids each day
If youre taking iron and calcium supplements, these can make you even more constipated. You can discuss stopping taking these or changing to a different formulation with your doctor
When should I be worried about constipation during pregnancy?
You should see a GP if you:
What Are Some Causes Of Gastrointestinal Issues During Pregnancy
While many gastrointestinal issues are very common, you may not have experienced any before becoming pregnant. Because they vary, the causes can vary as well. Some common causes or risk factors of gastrointestinal conditions during pregnancy can include:
- Changes in hormones
- Physical internal changes as the uterus grows
- Lack of exercise or activity
- Taking antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Food intolerance or allergy
Feeling A Little Backed Up
Constipation can be an uncomfortable problem to have. But many people experience it from time to time, especially while pregnant or taking certain medications.
There are many potential causes of constipation. There are also many treatment options. Adjusting your lifestyle habits or reaching for home remedies may be all you need to treat occasional constipation.
Take the time to learn about some of the best natural remedies for constipation.
Home Remedies For Constipation During Pregnancy
If youd rather not take a stool softener or your doctor has hesitations, rest assured there are a few ways to try to relieve constipation during pregnancy at home without medication. These include:
Upping your fiber intake. Fiber helps increase the weight and size of your poop while also softening it, making it easier to pass, according to the Mayo Clinic. One delicious way to do this is to blend your favorite fruits and vegetablesfrozen or freshinto a smoothie, Lamppa says. Give it a bigger boost by adding some chia seeds.
Drinking more water. Its important to make sure youre adequately hydrated while pregnant. This can help regulate many bodily functions, including your ability to poop. Whats more, water can soften stools, making them easier to pass, Greves says.
Getting more exercise. Being active can help move things along in your intestines as well. Increasing physical activity such as walking and low-impact exercise can be beneficial, Cackovic says.
Switching up your prenatal vitamin. You may want to take a break from the typical prenatal vitamin that contains iron, which can cause constipation to worsen, Lamppa says. Using a prenatal gummy thats iron-free for a while may help. But she adds this caveat: You dont want to do this for the entire pregnancy because supplemental iron is important.
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What Causes Constipation In Pregnancy
Constipation is having infrequent bowel movements , hard stools or difficulty passing stool.
Many women experience some degree of constipation during pregnancy because of changes in gastrointestinal motility.
Pregnancy can affect how contents such as food and fluid move through the digestive system.
There are multiple pregnancy-related changes that contribute to constipation. These include:
- Hormone changes that affect bowel motility. Progesterone levels increase during pregnancy. This is important because progesterone prevents the body from ovulating and prepares the breasts for milk production. Studies have shown that progesterone also decreases the activity of the muscles in the colon or large intestine . This causes the movement of waste products to sloowww down as they travel through the colon on their way to be expelled as a bowel movement.
- Increased water absorption from the intestines. Increased levels of aldosterone during pregnancy can increase water absorption in the colon. This can lead to harder and drier poop, which is more difficult to pass .
- Enlarging uterus . As it grows, the uterus can displace and compress the bowel which further slows down the movement of contents through the bowels.
All these changes are happening naturally in our bodies during pregnancy and can potentially lead to constipation. So what are some natural ways to relieve constipation while pregnant?
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What Medications Can I Take To Relieve Constipation When Im Pregnant
If you cant get relief through lifestyle changes, your healthcare provider may prescribe a laxative or a fiber supplement that can help. Always check with your provider before taking any laxatives or supplements, though. Not all of them have been tested for safety and effectiveness during pregnancy. Avoid home remedies for constipation, like castor oil or mineral oil, unless your provider recommends you take them.
What are side effects of the treatment?
Some laxatives can cause you to become dehydrated and imbalance your electrolytes. This is why its so important to be sure that youre taking the right laxative and that youre taking it for the right amount of time. Speak to your provider to be sure.
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What Remedies Should Not Be Used For Constipation During Pregnancy
Laxative pills are NOT recommended for the treatment of constipation during pregnancy because they might stimulate uterine contractions and cause dehydration. Talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter fiber supplement or a laxative or stool softener.
Mineral oils should NOT be used during pregnancy because they reduce nutrient absorption.
What Can Pregnant Women Take For Constipation
Pregnancy constipation pain can be uncomfortable. If youre wondering what over-the-counter options you can take, the good news is that stool softeners are generally considered a safe and effective option, Greves says. These medications help add moisture to your stool and make it easier to pass. Still, talk to your doctor before using any medication or supplement in pregnancy. One treatment option you should avoid altogether is laxatives Greves notes that these can cause dehydration.
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Postpartum Constipationyoure Not Done Pushing Yet
Delivery doesnt necessarily mean an end to your constipation woes. The combination of extra iron supplements , narcotics , limited mobility and a fear of pain while straining to go can all contribute to postpartum constipation. If this is the case, says Wong, the same rules of pregnancy constipation apply: stick to high-fibre foods , hydrate and move around as much as you can. And finally, if youre offered a stool softener right after delivery, accept it. Trust us on this one.
This article was originally published in August 2017 and has since been updated.
Lemon Or Peppermint Essential Oil
Aromatherapy massage using peppermint or lemon essential oil may help soften fecal impaction and treat constipation .
You Will Need
- 1-2 drops of lemon/peppermint essential oil
- 1 teaspoon of any carrier oil
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
Do this once a day.
The Link Between Constipation And Hemorrhoids
On its own, pregnancy increases your risk of swollen veins around your rectum. But if your stool is uncomfortable to pass and youre straining to do so, it can make hemorrhoids worse, says Shari Brasner, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, and author of Advice from a Pregnant ObstetricianThis is serious, because they can be with you for life. You can prevent pregnancy hemorrhoids by managing constipation, using the tips below.
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How Can I Manage Constipation During Pregnancy
Lifestyle changes can often prevent and help ease pregnancy-related constipation:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Taking in enough liquids can help move food through the digestive system. Note that fluid needs increase during pregnancy. Try to drink about 10 cups of water and other liquids every day.
- Take in enough fiber. Fiber adds bulk to stool, which may increase how often you have bowel movements. Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber each day. Foods that contain fiber include whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly. Inactivity increases your chance of constipation. Exercising during pregnancy can help you avoid constipation and improve your overall health. Strive to be active for 30 minutes, five days per week. Check with your health care provider before you increase your activity level.
If you take iron supplements and have constipation, talk to your health care provider about the best way to manage your symptoms. They may recommend that you meet your iron needs through diet or take smaller doses of the supplement throughout the day. Getting enough iron is important, especially during pregnancy, so do not stop taking the supplement without talking to your provider first.
Best Foods To Relieve Constipation Quickly
Constipation, Although embarrassing, is a common problem faced by approximately 20 percent of the population irrespective of gender and age. Many of us are uncomfortable discussing this topic, but awareness and early intervention are crucial in relieving constipation. This article discusses the importance of the foods you add to your diet for constipation and how simple changes can drastically change how your digestive system works and help you poop without difficulty.
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Change Or Add Supplements
If youre eating well and exercising, and youre still constipated, Strydom suggests changing vitamins until you find a brand thats less constipating. A fibre supplement like Metamucil can also get you out of your bind and is considered safe in pregnancy. Never take a laxative or stool softener to treat constipation, though, without first speaking with your health care provider, says Wong.
While Hedrick found temporary relief in water and All-Bran , long-term relief didnt come until after delivery when she was able to return to her pre-pregnancy diet, which included a lot of dark, leafy greens as opposed to fully loaded cheeseburgers. Despite her experience, though, Hedrick says shed do it all over again: There are no pregnancy discomforts that could have held me back from having children, she says.
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