The phase of pregnancy in a woman’s life is probably the happiest for them but the same comes with some horror and pain combined with it. People often highlight the pain a mother feels while they are delivering their baby and that is definitely one of the most painful experiences but there are several other knick knacks that a would be mother faces while being pregnant. Keep aside the weird food cravings, constipation during pregnancy definitely charts the list. A woman is already feeling bloated, add not being able to poop properly to that list and it accounts for one big disaster.
Pregnancy constipation is a very common instance and happens to three out of five pregnant women. But, were you clearly versed with everything related to the pregnancy constipation pain? Well, sit back and scroll past this article to get every answer from what, why, how and even the natural remedies to help cure constipation during pregnancy.
Why Do You Get Constipated During Pregnancy?
Constipation during pregnancy might be a common happening but have you ever wondered why it is caused? Afterall, no one likes to gorge down weird food if they can’t even get it out of their system from time to time, right? Experts suggest that there is not just one specific but multiple causes for pregnancy constipation.
Some of the common causes of constipation during pregnancy includes:
- Firstly, pregnancy brings about a whole lot of additional stress, little to no activity and sometimes, lack of fibre rich diet. All of this are the key contributors to the irregularity in the bowel movement of a person.
- Secondly, the hormonal changes in the body too affect the level of digestion and food absorption which, in turn, further contributes to constipation. The hormone, progesterone, helps in relaxation of the smooth muscles of the body which includes the ones in the small intestine as well. The relaxed muscles delay the passage of food through them which contributes to constipation during pregnancy.
- Thirdly, even the intake of iron supplements harden the feces and makes it harder for a pregnant lady to poop and excrete the toxins from the body. In such cases, it is always advised to consume loads of water because that is what helps in keeping this problem at bay.
How to Relieve Constipation?
The treatment of constipation during pregnancy is not rocket science. All you have got to do is fight the causes relating to the inception of constipation and you are good to go. Even the constipation during this phase is characterised by irregular bowel movements, abdominal pain and a feeling of bloating. In order to ensure pregnancy constipation relief, it is best to stick to a strict diet and lifestyle.
Some of the major preventive measure for constipation include:
- Start with the consumption of a fibre rich diet, including vegetables, fruits, cereals, grains etc. It is very necessary to ensure that a pregnant woman at least consumes 25-30 grams of fibres per day without fail and that too from healthy food.
- Increase the intake of water and fluids to ensure that the feces is soft and doesn’t cause restriction in the bowel movement. This is a very important factor to adhere to because the more intake of fluid ensures to flush out the unnecessary and harmful toxins from the body.
- Exercise daily till your body permits. Make sure that the exercise regime you are opting for is safe for pregnancy and wouldn’t cause any kind of harm to either you or the baby.
- If none of the above natural treatment methods work, it is best to reach out to your doctor and let them prescribe the over the counter remedy for your treatment. There are a number of products available in the market which help in regulating the bowel movement and helps relieve constipation during the gestation period.
- Iron supplements are yet another issue that causes constipation. If you are taking iron supplements and facing problems along the lines of a bloated stomach and irregular bowel movements, it is always best to cut them out and opt for natural ways to meet the iron demands of the body during pregnancy.
Home Remedies for Constipation During Pregnancy
Treating constipation is often best achieved with the home remedies that are often tried and tested for their effectiveness. Prevention of pregnancy during constipation is often a tough nut to crack because of the aligned diet and lack of physical activity the phase brings along with it. In order to effectively find cure for constipation during pregnancy, scroll a little down to find the list of home remedies to treat the signs and symptoms related to constipation during pregnancy.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Heartburns and constipation during pregnancy is one of the most common signs and symptoms. If you are not comfortable consuming any kind of medication for it and are looking for good natural remedies, apple cider vinegar is a good one to go for. The only line of caution? Make sure that the vinegar is pasteurised because the unpasteurised form can cause miscarriages, still birth or other complications.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a great remedy for immediate constipation relief during pregnancy. It contains a considerable amount of pectin which is great for curing the symptoms related to constipation. Mix one tablespoon of pasteurised apple cider vinegar to a glass of cold water and drink it for instant relief.
If you didn’t know any further, prunes are nothing but dried plums. These are rich in fibres and low in sugar content which makes it an ideal snack for pregnant women to cure their constipation. While many pregnant woman like to eat it as it is, many prefer drinking prune juice which is a great alternative as well. Just, make sure that the juice is organic and not full of preservatives.
The high fibre content and low sugar in the fruit helps in regulating the bowel movement and helps provide with immediate pregnancy constipation relief. It might not taste the best but the effect it has definitely overshadows every other thing. Eat prunes as a snack in between meals or juice sip on the juice.
Ripe bananas are often connected as one of the best remedies for constipation during pregnancy. It is rich in not just essential vitamins and minerals but also high in fibre content which is great for treating the problems related to constipation. As per studies, a medium sized banana is trusted to have around 3 grams of fibre which is a pretty decent amount.
If you are feeling under the weather, just bite through a banana or two throughout the day and it will help in softening the stool and ensure regular bowel movement without any hassle.
4. Baking Soda
Baking Soda has been a preliminary ingredient in the treatment of heartburns and acidity. If you are experiencing signs of constipation during pregnancy, baking soda remedy can be of great help. It helps in alleviating the problems of acidity in the stomach and helps neutralise the stomach acids.
If you have been suffering from consistent stomach and digestion problems, mix 3/4th teaspoon of baking soda and mix it in a glass of water. Make sure that the baking soda is completely dissolved before you drink it. It is often considered as an amazing remedy for pregnancy constipation although the exact reasons for the same is still unknown.
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural laxative which is often suggested to treat pregnancy constipation. It is the presence of abundant amount of medium chained fatty acids which promote regular bowel movements and helps relieve the signs of constipation. It softens the stool and makes it easier for a pregnant woman to poop without hurting.
Consume one tablespoon of coconut oil once or twice throughout the day to promote better bowel movements and digestion during times of pregnancy.
Enema is the procedure in which a type of liquid or gas is induced into the rectal opening for alleviating constipation and to induce excretion of feces. While there are conflicts on the goods and bads of it during pregnancy, it is best to keep this method as a last resort if everything else fails to work.
Many people often times tend to not suggest this as a method for the treatment of pregnancy constipation because of the slight possibility of invasion to the foetus. It is always best to switch it off with the increased of healthy fruits and veggies with high fibre content.
7. Epsom Salt
Did you want to know a trivia about Epsom salt? Epsom salt is not an actual “salt” but depositions of magnesium and sulfate. Sound riveting, doesn’t it? With that being said, Epsom salt is an amazing remedy for curing the issues one face with pregnancy constipation. If you have been experiencing hardened stools and even an uneasiness around the abdominal area because of constipation, try Epsom salt bath to get rid of these symptoms.
Add 4-5 scoops of Epsom salt into the bath and soak your entire body for a good 15-30 minutes and let the water soak into the body. It is said that the magnesium from the Epsom salt helps in enhancing the functioning of the gut and the other parts of the digestive system, thus providing with immediate constipation relief during pregnancy.
8. Fibre Rich Foods
One of the primary reasons for pregnancy constipation is the lack of consumption of a good fibre rich diet. Including good levels of dietary fibre in the daily food intake is a must for pregnant women to ensure regular bowel movements and better rate of excretion. This is primarily necessary because the elevated levels of toxins in the body is often a lot harmful for the baby.
Include fruits and vegetables and other kind of grains that are pregnancy safe but high in fibre. This will promote better digestion and metabolism, thus curing the signs and symptoms related to constipation during pregnancy.
9. Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with amazing anti-oxidant and pro digestive properties which helps in curing the signs and symptoms that come with constipation during pregnancy. The higher amount of anti-oxidants helps flushing the unwanted toxins out of the body. Not just that, it even improves digestion and increases the rate of metabolism which is one of the primary contributing factors to curing constipation.
With that being said, it is best to not overdo the consumption of green tea during pregnancy because an excess amount of green tea restricts the absorption of folic acid which is a necessity in the stages of pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks.
10. Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk, often commonly known as isabgol, is a great fibre supplement to induce defecation. It is very effective and helps in softening the feces which ensures smooth and painless excretion process which otherwise can be a lot painful during times of pregnancy constipation.
Mix one or two tablespoons of the husk in a mug of water and let it steep for a few hours and then drink it all before sleep and it should work its wonder overnight to ensure a regular bowel movement in the morning.
Kiwi is an amazing and versatile ingredient when it comes to treating a number of ailments in pregnant women, especially the ones related to digestion and metabolism. Kiwi is rich in dietary fibre which is amazing for relieving the pregnancy constipation pain. It is also low in sugar content which is why it is amazing as a snack in between meals for pregnant mothers.
Another good thing about the kiwi is the fact that it is rich in folate which is an essential component in the development of brain and cognitive functions of the baby. A mother needs to ensure daily consumption of 400-800 mg of folic acid and kiwi is the perfect source for it.
12. Olive Oil
Olive Oil is an amazing remedy that helps soften the stool which is great for treating the issues that come with constipation during pregnancy. This is full of vitamins and minerals as well which has an additional benefit on the overall health of an individual. Consumption of olive oil in salads or even in food can help in softening the feces which ensures smooth defecation.
Additionally, olive oil also helps in ensuring impressive benefits for the foetus which are reflected in their adult life. Researches are still being conducted in this regard and are still to come up with concrete results to back the claims up.
Pregnant mothers are advised to increase their intake of protein during pregnancy and any kind of dairy product, especially yogurt is an amazing supplement for the same. Not just that, yogurt is also full of probiotic bacteria which helps in improving the microbiota in one’s bowels. If you are struggling with constipation during pregnancy, consumption of yogurt can definitely be a good option.
Many doctors advise pregnant women to include a bowl of organic yogurt after their lunch to promote better gut health. It is one of the best remedies for constipation during pregnancy that inflicts no side effects on the mother or the baby.
Exercises for Constipation During Pregnancy
Pregnancy symptoms bring a sluggish behaviour to the bowel movements which is what results in constipation. If you are looking for good and effective treatment for pregnancy constipation, opt for exercising. Often times, the lack of physical activity during pregnancy results in the restriction in the process of defecation.
Exercises break through the inactivity of the body and ensure better digestion, improved metabolism and in turn, alleviates the signs of pregnancy constipation.
How Does Exercise Help?
When it comes to how exercise is beneficial in the treatment of pregnancy constipation, it helps in reducing the time spared by the food in the large intestine where the majority of the water absorption takes place. Less absorption of water keeps the stool softened and thus helps in smooth defecation without any added pain. Not just that, several kinds of exercises help in improving the breathing and heart rate which also ensure smoother contraction of the intestine muscles for an easier defecation.
When is the Best Time To Exercise?
This is a very important question that could possibly make or break the results that you re expecting from the exercises. It is very much important to know when to perform the exercises and which timings are a no go. Fora majority of the cases of constipation treatment with exercises, most doctors suggest doing them after an hour or two after the consumption of a meal. After an hour or so of food ingestion, the blood flows directly flows through the stomach which is what contributes to the proper digestion of the food which in turn promotes relieving the signs of constipation.
What are the best exercises for treating pregnant constipation?
There are a number of exercises that most doctors suggest pregnant women to do. It includes the proper stretching of the muscles around the gut and the surrounding regions which is exactly what promotes better digestion, and, in turn, better bowel movements. It is necessary to never overdo any part of the exercise because the same can inflict negative impacts on the body. Stretching with an exercise ball, light handed aerobics and even a few types of yoga help in alleviating the symptoms of constipation during pregnancy.
Constipation During Pregnancy Symptoms
We have mentioned the possible causes as well and the remedies that can help cure the signs and symptoms of pregnancy constipation. But, have you ever wondered what these signs and symptoms actually are that indicate towards the problem?
The common symptoms of constipation during pregnancy include:
- Irregular bowel movements, almost only two to three times a week at most
- Painful bowel movements
- Hard and often times fry feces
- Bloating in the stomach
- Uneasiness around the abdominal region accompanied with abdominal pain
When Does Constipation in Pregnancy Start?
Constipation in pregnancy doesn’t have its specific set course of happening. It may occur at any stage and at any time throughout the pregnancy – in the initial, middle or sometimes even at the penultimate times of pregnancy. It doesn’t have a specific timing rather depends on the level of activities of the lack of it in a pregnant woman’s routine. It has been often seen that expectant mothers who are active and eat healthy tend to not even experience this problem in the first place.
What Should One Not Do During Constipation In Pregnancy?
Now that we have mostly covered all the major points connected to what one should do during constipation, let us focus on what one needs to avoid doing during times of constipation in the phase of pregnancy. There are a few red lights when it comes to treating constipation during pregnancy and it is always best to abide by them for effective results.
- Avoid inactivity. Being physically inactive tends to slow down the process of digestion which can cause constipation and reduced metabolism rate.
- Try and avoid the intake of iron supplements, rather, eat fruits and vegetables that can help with the iron requirement of the body
- Don’t skip meals just because of being constipated. It can lead to lack of nutrition to the body which can have adverse effects.
- Two important things that pregnant women who are feeling constipated need to avoid includes canned food and caffeine
- Don’t go overboard with the supplement laxatives because that can often trigger excessive action of the gut, thus, worsening the situation.
- Don’t strain or put way more pressure while defecating than necessary. It can often exert pressure in the womb which can be bad for the foetus.
- If you are opting for home remedies, stick with one or two and don’t go overboard with the experimentation with the natural laxative properties of these food items.
Side Effects of Pregnancy Constipation
Side effects are a pivotal part of constipation during pregnancy and needs to be handled with utmost seriousness. If you find these symptoms lingering even after administration of the remedies, it is always best to reach out to a doctor and not wait for it to get worse.
Some of the common side effects of pregnancy constipation include:
When to See a Doctor For Constipation During Pregnancy?
Doctors should be consulted at every single stage during the problem of constipation during pregnancy. It is always best to consult a doctor before taking any kind of medication for it or trying any kind of home remedy. That being said, if you are seeing persistence in the symptoms of constipation even after the administration of the medicines or remedies.
There can be a number of other reasons affecting the digestion and bowel movement, which is why it is best to consult the doctor to get it checked out before the situation drags out and becomes even worse.
Food for Thought With Some FAQs:
A-While there might not be that much of an issue during the initial stages of the constipation during pregnancy, the same can cause problems in the later stages if it continues to persist. It is necessary to ensure that the mother’s body is devoid of toxins because of the fact that the foetus is completely reliant on the mother for food and nutrition.
2. Is it safe to push while being constipated during pregnancy?
A-The only downside of pushing too hard during constipation is attaining the possibility of having hemorrhoids and those are painful. Several experts suggest that pushing during pooping doesn’t necessarily cause problems to the mother or the baby but it is definitely better to not go overboard with it.