Constipation refers to difficult or infrequent bowel evacuation. It is one of the signs of pregnancy. It is caused by hormonal changes that occur in pregnant women. The movement of food via the intestines of pregnant women is relaxed and slowed down by progesterone which is an important pregnancy hormone. Not every woman suffers from constipation during pregnancy.
You may experience constipation if you have any of the following symptoms:
Not being able to eat normally
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
You may also have constipation if you are susceptible to the condition. Other factors that can cause constipation or worsen it during pregnancy include:
Lack of exercise
Anemia and iron tablets utilized for the treatment of the condition
Though constipation is a symptom of pregnancy and does not cause any serious medical complication, it should be prevented or at least reduced. This is because chronic constipation is a major risk factor for hemorrhoids or piles. There are ways through which you can reduce or prevent constipation during pregnancy.
Ways to deal with constipation
Consume a high fiber diet
High fiber diet aids digestion. It provides the body with a roughage which improves your digestion. So, if you are having constipation during pregnancy, you should discuss with your doctor or a dietician so that a high fiber diet plan will be given to you. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber. Wholemeal bread is also a good source of fiber.
Drink enough water
Taking enough water at least 1.5 liters of water on a daily basis will help to improve your condition. Constipation normally becomes worse when you are dehydrated. But you should avoid drinking coffee, alcohol, cola, and tea. These drinks are diuretics which imply that they make you urinate more often. Losing much body fluid will worsen your situation. So, in order to avoid making constipation worse, you should try to avoid these drinks or reduce their intake.
If you are taking bran as a means of preventing constipation, you should make sure that you take enough water otherwise you will end up worsening the situation. This is because bran alone will harden your feces. It will be difficult for it to pass through your intestine when it has not got enough water. So, you should make the bran more effective by taking enough water.
You may be experiencing extreme fatigue but that should not stop you from engaging in regular exercise. You can enroll in antenatal exercise or yoga session. But if you do not have money, there are some exercises that you should do such as walking, cycling, sitting and bouncing lightly on a Swiss ball, and swimming. Note that it is not every type of exercise that is good for you as a pregnant woman. You should meet with your doctor or fitness experts to plan a suitable exercise program for you.
Don’t hold your bowel
Visit the toilet as soon as you have the urge. Holding your bowel movement will worsen the problem by weakening the bowel muscles making it harder for you to defecate.
Do not use mineral oil and laxative because they lessen nutrients’ absorption into your body.