How Is Constipation During Pregnancy Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider may ask you how much youre pooping and what your stools look like. Other questions about your daily habits can help your provider find out whats likely causing your constipation or making it worse. Your provider may ask:
- What your diets like and how much youre drinking each day.
- If youre exercising or getting enough physical activity.
- What medicines or supplements youre taking.
Could It Be A Sign Of Something More Serious
While most cases of constipation are not a sign of illness, sometimes there are complications such as haemorrhoids, faecal impaction or rectal prolapse. In rare cases, constipation can be caused by more serious conditions such as tumours.
Speak with your doctor if you are concerned, and especially if you notice blood in your stools.
Fit Until Birth: Helpful Exercises To Do At Home
Fit for your digestion against constipation
- Sit cross-legged on a yoga mat or on a comfortable but not too soft surface and straighten your spine.
- Now turn your upper body to the right and grasp your right knee with your left hand. Make sure to keep your back straight and not bend your spine.
- Do the exercise to the left and repeat the exercise.
effect: Not only will your digestion be improved by this exercise, your spinal ligaments and nerves will also be stretched and activated.
Please note: If you are more advanced in pregnancy, it is better to do the exercise with your legs stretched out.
For a strong pelvic floor
- Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together.
- Grasp your ankles with both hands and carefully pull your feet towards your body again.
- On the next exhale, spread your knees apart by gently pushing your knees toward the floor. The head and spine should always stay straight.
- As you inhale, release your knees again.
- Repeat this exercise.
effect: This exercise promotes blood flow to the pelvic floor muscles and relaxes them at the same time.
Stimulates circulation and blood circulation
effect: This exercise gets your circulation going and promotes blood flow throughout the body.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation
Releasing a stool feels satisfying. Constipation feels just the opposite. You can tell youre constipated when:
- Youre only able to poop a few times a week.
- You strain to poop, and your belly feels swollen and gassy.
- When you poop, your stools are lumpy and hard. Theyre so dry that passing them is painful.
Sometimes, constipation leads to or worsens hemorrhoids and Like constipation, both conditions are common during pregnancy.
Guidance On Managing Constipation
The first-line treatment for constipation is increasing dietary fibre and fluid intake. Dietary fibre intake can be improved by eating more wholegrain foods, fruit and vegetables, or through wheat or bran fibre supplementation. Where fibre supplementation does not alleviate symptoms, laxatives may be helpful in the short-term, although they can cause adverse side effects such as abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
Drink A Glass Of Water
Proper hydration is necessary for regular bowel movements. Researchers recommend about 1.8 liters or about seven to eight 8-ounce glasses of clear liquid per day. The exact amount your body needs can depend on your size, sex, and whether or not youre pregnant or breastfeeding. If youre constipated and havent been drinking an adequate amount of water, consuming a large glass of water or other clear liquid may trigger a bowel movement.
Could This Be An Indication Of Something More Serious
Although constipation is not usually a sign or symptom of illness, there may be complications like hemorhoids and faecal impurity. Rarely, more serious conditions like tumours can cause constipation. Talk to your doctor immediately if you have any concerns, especially if there is blood in your stool.
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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.
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Fibers Rich Foods Is The Best Way To Fight Constipation During Pregnancy
Consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day. You can read the labels, but its not necessary to do the math. Focus instead on eating whole grains, breads, legumes , fresh fruits, vegetables , and dried fruit. You can also go for the green, both in the form of leafy green veggies and kiwi fruits, which have a powerful laxative effect.
Take a look at this delicious and fiber-rich menu for some inspiration. Are you really plugged up? You might consider adding bran or psyllium into your diet. Start with a small amount and increase as you need. You should always consult your doctor before adding bran or psyllium to your diet. These fiber powerhouses can rob important nutrients from the body before they can be absorbed. Flatulence is a common side effect of increasing fiber intake.
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Can Diarrhea Cause A Miscarriage
An expectant mothers worst fear is a miscarriage, so when you are experiencing those diarrhea cramps, it is not hard to quickly assume a miscarriage is happening. Some expectant mothers have diarrhea as an early pregnancy symptom, so a miscarriage should not be your first assumption.
Diarrhea will not cause you to have a miscarriage, and no, you will not push your baby out when you are straining on the toilet.
The cramping you are feeling is associated with diarrhea, not an impending miscarriage, so put your mind at ease. The bodily systems are not connected, even though the stomach cramps feel so much like ones that are associated with miscarriages .
Diarrhea is a symptom of miscarriage, but having diarrhea will not cause a miscarriage to happen.
Diarrhea can also be caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite due to the weakened immune system during pregnancy. If you know that someone around you is contagious try to stay away as it is easier for them to spread their infection to you than a non-pregnant person.
Medical Treatment For Constipation
If over-the-counter treatments donÃ¢t do the job, your doctor may prescribe a different kind of medication.
Prescription laxatives such as and work by increasing the amount of water in your intestines and speeding up the movement of stool. Note that Amitiza is approved for use only in women.
Serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine 4 receptors. Prucalopride is a powerful stimulant thatÃ¢s used for chronic constipation without a known cause.
PAMORAs. This is a shorter way of saying Ã¢peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists.Ã¢ These work on constipation thatÃ¢s caused by opioid pain medicines. These drugs include methylnaltrexone and naloxegol
Surgery for constipation treatment
Sometimes constipation is caused by a structural problem in your colon or rectum. Your colon may be blocked or unusually narrow, or you may have a partial collapse or a bulge in the wall of your rectum. In that case, surgery can correct the problem.
Surgery may also be a last resort if your colon just works too slowly and treatments havenÃ¢t helped. You may need to have a section of your colon removed.
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How We Select Supplements
Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.
We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products.
Itâs important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.
Note that most specific fiber supplements containing the fiber types with the strongest clinical research evidence are not third-party tested and may contain additives. However, they are included here if there is good evidence to support their benefit for regularity.
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Constipation Due To Diet
Its important to understand that refined flour products such as pasta, bread, cakes and pastries, or refined white rice, have lost most or all of their fibre. Just like when you remove the skin from an apple, it takes away much of the goodness and you feel less full.
Refined flour products dont move through the digestive tract very easily. Refined foods cause constipation by absorbing any liquid that you drink, and creating a plaster-like substance which makes your bowels become stretched. It can exacerbate the issues when you have hormonal changes on top of that.
Avoiding grains can significantly help with digestion, inflammation, blood sugar levels and weight gain. After all, livestock are fed grains to fatten them up!
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Causes Of Constipation In Pregnancy
For occasional constipation during pregnancy lifestyle changes are recommended first. Then if constipation persists some over-the-counter medications can be used if necessary.
However, you must talk to your healthcare provider if constipation becomes an ongoing problem, or you dont see improvement with these first and second line recommendations.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Digestive System
Constipation occurs in nearly half of pregnant women, due to physiological and anatomical changes in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, dietary changes such as not eating some of the foods youre used to, or eating less can contribute to constipation. And to top it all off, a growing fetus may slow down the movement of the bowel.
Hormonal changesPregnant women produce more hormones than usual, including relaxin and progesterone, which relax the joints and ligaments in the pelvic area to make room for the growing baby. They also relax the muscles of the digestive system, causing bowel movements to slow down. Another hormone, aldosterone, makes the colon absorb more liquid and electrolytes than usual, which makes stools harder. All of these changes can make it difficult to get relief.
Physical changesSome changes in the body during pregnancy may include backache, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, hemorrhoids, frequent urination, feeling tired, increase in appetite, increased vaginal discharge, tender breasts, and constipation. Toward the end of the pregnancy, the expansion of the uterus can put an increased pressure on the intestines, which also contributes to constipation.
Dietary changesDifferent eating habits during pregnancy can cause constipation. Maybe youre eating more of certain foods, while you cant stand the sight of others either way, sudden changes can cause occasional constipation.
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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.
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.
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 youâre 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:
Ease Into Making Changes To Your Diet
You dont have to toss out everything you like to eat and choke down a gelatinous drink like psyllium just to up your fiber and water intake. When making lasting changes to help GI function, its important that the changes are feasible and affordable says Molly Brogan, RD, a dietitian in the department of nutrition at Albany Med Health System in New York. Brogan says that if fresh fruit will blow a patients budget, she eases them into a fiber-filled diet with other small swaps, such as a serving of half-brown, half-white rice. Or shell have them add raisins or cooked carrots to a muffin recipe.
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Varicose Veins In Pregnancy
Varicose veins are veins that have become swollen. They can be uncomfortable but arent harmful. They most commonly affect leg veins.
You can also get varicose veins in the vaginal opening , although these usually get better after the birth.
If you have varicose veins, you should:
- avoid standing for long periods of time
- try not to sit with your legs crossed
- try not to put on too much weight, as this increases the pressure
- sit with your legs up as often as you can to ease the discomfort
- try compression tights, which you can buy at most pharmacies they wont prevent varicose veins but can ease the symptoms
- try sleeping with your legs higher than the rest of your body use pillows under your ankles or put books under the foot of your bed
- do foot and other antenatal exercises, such as walking and swimming, which will help your circulation
Try these foot exercises:
- bend and stretch your foot up and down 30 times
- rotate your foot 8 times one way and 8 times the other
- repeat with the other foot
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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What Can Help With Constipation During Pregnancy
Constipation is common near the end of pregnancy. Eating more foods with fiber can help fight constipation. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. You should aim for about 25 grams of fiber in your diet each day. Good sources of fiber include:
- Whole-wheat pasta
Check the labels on packaged foods and choose higher-fiber options if possible. If you have not been getting your 25 grams a day, increase the amount of fiber you eat a little each day. Drink a lot of water as you increase your fiber intake.
Copyright 2022 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOGs complete disclaimer.