Constipation and Pregnancy

It’s something that many pregnant women deal with. I thought that being pregnant would mean that I would just end up being constipated, especially since it is such a usual part of my non-pregnant life, but I was wrong.

First, I want to explain why a lot of pregnant women get “stopped up.” The number one reason is our pre-natal vitamins, or more specifically, the iron in our pre-natal vitamins.

We need these vitamins to make sure our babies are getting enough nutrients, but iron does a couple of things to our stool:

1. It hardens it

2. It slows the transit time down

There is another reason why we become constipated. We have a seven-pound baby sitting on our intestines. Along with this, hormones change the way our muscles work, and stuff in the intestines is moved partially by muscles. This in itself can slow down the movement of your fecal matter.

How can we fight this?

Well, here is a list of what I tell my patients and what I have been doing, which seems to work.

1. Eat a high fiber diet
Fiber helps to keep those intestinal muscles tone. This helps to “clean you out quicker.” It also provides bulk to the fecal matter (warning though, with fiber comes gas).

2. Drink plenty of water
What I tell my patients is that if your urine is clear, you are drinking enough water. The water gets added to the fecal matter and helps to soften it up. This helps your body move it out easier.

3. Exercise!
Even just a 30-minute walk, three days a week. The act of exercising and gravity itself help to move things through a lot quicker.

4. Stool softener
If none of these things work, ask your MD for a stool softener. This will help soften it and move it out quicker.

There are a couple of things not to do.

* Do not stop taking your pre-natal vitamin. That vitamin is needed for the health of you and your baby.

* Do not take a laxative. These are stimulants and may cause you to go into labor early.

Upstream Health Solutions

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