It must be Murphy’s law that just when you’re able to get food into your body without having it come back up, you suddenly find you can’t get the food out of your body. Nearly half of all the women who are pregnant suffer from constipation.
As with all symptoms of pregnancy, there is a reason for constipation. When you’re pregnant your body creates progesterone which in turns relaxes the muscles of the bowels and causes your digestive tract to work much more slowly. Your digestive tract works slower to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients from your food for your baby. This can create constipation, which if it not kept under control, can lead to hemorrhoids.
Here are some ways you can avoid constipation throughout your pregnancy:
Make sure you include plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber absorbs water can help to soften your stools and speed their passage. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like whole grain cereal and oatmeal. Instead of eating white bread with your sandwiches, eat whole grain bread. Add some oat bran to your cereals or yogurt.
Fresh fruits are also an excellent way to get fiber. Melons and plums have a high amount of fiber in them as well as dried fruits like figs, raisins, apricots and of course the well known favorite prunes. Prunes and prune juice have a laxative effect and will help keep things moving properly in your body. Aim to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. You can tell you’re getting enough fiber if your stools are large and soft and you aren’t straining to pass them. Keep in mind though that too much fiber can lead to diarrhea which can lead to dehydration so don’t overdo the fiber in your diet.
Also, drinking plenty of fluid will help you combat constipation. Fluids help keep digestive products moving through your system so it’s very important for you to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Keeping up with your fluids is important especially if you are increasing your intake of fiber. Your body needs to water to soak up the fiber otherwise it can cause more constipation.
If possible, eat yogurt. Yogurt has a bacteria called acidophilus that helps stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better. Look at your prenatal vitamins. Some of the prenatal vitamins that women take contain a lot of iron and iron can play a big part in constipation. Talk to your doctor to see if you can switch for a while to a different prenatal vitamin that contains less iron or at least stay off of the prenatal vitamins for a while until your constipation is under control.
Avoid foods that can lead to constipation. Some of these include:
- White bread
- Some cereals such as corn flakes
- White rice
If all this fails, give your doctor a call to see if there is something you can take to help keep you regulated. Most doctors will allow you to take Metamucil to help keep things moving. What you don’t want to do is take an over the counter laxative just because you’re a bit uncomfortable. Remember, you must keep your body healthy so the baby is getting what it needs to grow.
Constipation is never pleasant but during pregnancy, it can be even more uncomfortable. Taking steps to avoid constipation will help make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable.