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How To Manage Constipation During Pregnancy

Chief Editor | Published on September 15, 2023

We all have different frequencies of bowel movements — some of us may go thrice a day, while others go thrice a week. However, if you find yourself passing stools less than 3 times a week, you are suffering from constipation.

There are a number of reasons why you may get constipation during pregnancy. For one, the increased level of pregnancy hormones slows down the movement of food through your intestines. In addition to that, the extra iron from your prenatal vitamins may worsen your constipation, as well as the pressure exerted on your bowels by your growing womb. If you are experiencing constipation, here are some tips on how to manage it.

Drink Up!

Pregnant woman drinking water, how to manage constipation during pregnancy

One of the easiest ways to relieve constipation is to ensure that you are drinking enough fluids. Your body is working harder during pregnancy, which is why you will need more water to cope with the changes of your body. As a rule of thumb, pregnant women are recommended to drink at least 6 glasses of water a day. This amount may vary for each individual depending on how active they are.

Eat Well

While the old adage of “eating for two” is not accurate, it is definitely important for you to stick to a nutritious diet when you are pregnant. If you are suffering from constipation, try eating more high-fibre food such as fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Prunes can be especially helpful in alleviating constipation as this fruit contains a high amount of sorbitol, which helps to stimulate bowel activity.  While fibre is important in the fight against constipation, remember that more may not always be better. Extra fibre may do more harm than good if you are dehydrated, so be sure to drink enough water first. Additionally, you may want to introduce high-fibre food into your diet gradually to avoid excessive bloating or gas.

Exercise Regularly

Besides being good for your heart and your muscles, regular exercise can also help relieve constipation! When you are up and moving, you are helping your body speed up  the movement of food through your large intestine, thereby reducing the amount of water absorbed from your stools. This keeps your bowels running more smoothly as hard and dry stools are harder to pass. Additionally, exercise helps to stimulate your intestinal muscles. While regular exercise has many benefits, it is important that you wait out a meal before exercising. If you plan to exercise after a large meal, you should wait at least 3 to 4 hours for your food to digest. On the other hand, a small meal or snacks would need about 1 to 2 hours.

Speak To Your Doctor

Constipation is usually not a serious problem by itself, but it may lead to other complications such as haemorrhoids. If none of these tips help or if you find yourself suffering from severe constipation, do seek help from your doctor, who may recommend stool softeners such as natural fibers.

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