Oh the many joys of pregnancy. As if the Nausea, cravings and hormone fluctuations were not gift enough, in walks constipation. Due to a variety of things we’ll get into sometimes pooping during pregnancy becomes far more difficult than you’d imagine.
In this article we’ll talk about:
- What causes constipation during pregnancy
- When does constipation occur
- Symptoms of Constipation
- How to Treat constipation
- Preventative Tips
What Causes Constipation During Pregnancy
Hormones are the biggest cause of pregnancy constipation. In the first trimester your body starts producing a hormone called progesterone (typically referred to as the “pregnancy hormone”. Progesterone helps prepare your uterus for baby by thickening the lining. Progesterone also causes relaxation in your muscles (including your intestinal muscles) slowing down digestion, which can lead to constipation.
Additionally the pressure and weight from your growing uterus as well as iron consumption from your prenatal vitamin all exacerbate the constipation issue.
When Does Constipation Occur
Constipation usually occurs in the first trimester when the influx of progesterone is first experienced. However it is also experienced in the 3rd trimester as well when progesterone spikes and the weight of your womb is pressing on your bowels.
Constipation during pregnancy is awful and can potentially cause or exacerbate issues like hemorrhoids so it’s best to treat is as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Constipation
There are several tell tale signs of constipation, these include:
- Fewer bowl movements
- Abdominal bloating
- hard poops making it painful as it moves through
- blood in stool due to passage through the rectum
How to Treat Constipation
There are a lot of different ways you can treat constipation during pregnancy so we’ll start with the natural ways
- Add more fiber to your diet. You should be getting at least 20-35 grams per day.
- Eliminate refined an processed foods as in most of these foods the fiber has been eliminated.
- Drink a lot, and we mean a lot of water. Easy way to do the math is drink half your weight in ounces. We recommend adding another 20 oz to that while pregnant.
- Exercise daily. Check out the Juna App for daily pregnancy safe workouts.
- Add Liquid Magnesium with Calcium into your daily vitamin regiment.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of big meals. This will help not tax your intestines.
Here are some more serious interventions for constipation. Always consult with your doctor before trying anything though.
- Add a fiber laxative like Metamucil or Citrucel – these help your intestines absorb water and stools easier to pass.
- Integrate colace (prescribed by your doctor) into your daily regiment.
- AVOID stimulant laxatives as you can build a dependency on these.
How to Prevent Constipation
Wish there were some foolproof ways to avoid constipation. Unfortunately you got a lot working against you during pregnancy. The things you should make sure you are doing is drinking lots of water, eating lots of high fiber foods, lots and lots of cruciferous vegetables and fruit, and lastly, make sure you are exercising daily.
If all else fails, here is a delicious smoothie recipe that will help get things moving.
Constipation Relieving Smoothie
- 10 oz coconut water or almond milk
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 1/2 avocado
- 3 dates
- 1 fiber blend
- 1 collagen peptides
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
- 1 handful spinach
- Throw everything into a blender and mix
Have you experienced constipation? What have you tried and what has worked for you?