It is Murphy’s law that just when you are able to get food into your body without having it come back up, you suddenly find you can not get the food out of your body. Nearly half of all the women who are pregnant suffer from constipation during pregnancy.
As with all symptoms of pregnancy, there is a reason for constipation. When you are pregnant your body creates progesterone which in turn relaxes the muscles of the bowels and causes your digestive tracks to work much slower. Your digestive track 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 haemorrhoids.
There are some ways you can help avoid constipation throughout your pregnancy. Make sure you included plenty of fibre in your diet. Fibre absorbs water and can help to soften your stools and speed their passage. Eat plenty of high fibre foods like whole-grain cereal and oatmeal. Instead of eating white bread with your sandwiches, eat whole grain loaves of bread. Add some oat bran to your cereals or yoghurt.
Fresh fruits are also an excellent way to get your fibre in. Melons and plums have a high amount of fibre in them as well as dried fruits like figs, raisins, apricots and of course the well known favourite prunes. Prunes and prune juice have a like laxative effect and will help keep things moving properly in your body. Aim to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fibre a day. You can tell you are getting enough fibre if your stools are large and soft and you aren’t straining to pass them. Keep in mind though that too much fibre can lead to diarrhoea which can lead to dehydration so do not overdo the fibre in your diet.
Also, drinking plenty of fluid will help you combat constipation. Fluids help keep digestive products moving through your system so it is 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 fibre. Your body needs to water to soak up the fibre otherwise it can cause more constipation.
Also, make sure you are eating your yoghurt if you can. Yoghurt has a bacteria called acidophilus that helps stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better. Look at your prenatal. Some of the prenatal 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 that contains less iron or at least stay off of the prenatal for a while until your constipation is under control.
Avoid foods that can lead to constipation. White bread and some cereals such as corn flakes can lead to constipation as well as white rice and bananas. 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.
Constipation is never pleasant but during pregnancy, it can be even extra uncomfortable. Make sure you take the steps to avoid constipation. It will help make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable.