Cant Poop Safe Constipation Remedies During Pregnancy
Written by our resident pharmacist, Yeniset Santana.
Not being able to poop is a common problem in pregnancy. Luckily there are a number of remedies you can use to help get things moving.
The safest way to relieve constipation during pregnancy is by introducing simple changes in your lifestyle . Some medications for constipation like bulk-forming agents and, osmotic and stimulant laxatives are also safe.
So How Often Should I be Pooping?
Its normal to poop from 3 times per day to 3 times a week. Sometimes during pregnancy you can experience fewer bowel movements than you would when not pregnant, but that does not necessarily mean that youre constipated.
However, if you have 2 bowel movements or less per week and 25% of your visits to the restroom are: painful, with a sensation of incomplete evacuation or with lumpy or hard stools. Then you are constipated.
Numb Or Tingling Hands
Feelings of swelling, tingling, and numbness in fingers and hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome, can occur during pregnancy. These symptoms are due to swelling of tissues in the narrow passages in your wrists, and they should disappear after delivery.
What might help:
Stretch marks are red, pink, or brown streaks on the skin. Most often they appear on the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and breasts. These scars are caused by the stretching of the skin, and usually appear in the second half of pregnancy.
Some women notice other skin changes during pregnancy. For many women, the nipples become darker and browner during pregnancy. Many pregnant women also develop a dark line on the skin that runs from the belly button down to the pubic hairline. Patches of darker skin usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip also are common. Patches often match on both sides of the face. These spots are called melasma or chloasma and are more common in darker-skinned women.
What might help:
- Be patient — stretch marks and other changes usually fade after delivery.
Will It Continue After Ive Had The Baby
There are several reasons why constipation may continue after birth. Women who have had a caesarean often experience constipation for a few days until their regular bowel movements return. Women who have stiches after a vaginal birth may hesitate on the toilet, which can cause a build-up in their bowels.
If youve taken strong pain medication after having your baby this may also cause constipation.
New mothers are often busier than usual in the first few weeks and months of motherhood. It may seem like taking care of yourself has become less of a priority, but your health is no less important now than it was during your pregnancy. Be sure to have plenty of fibre-rich fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains as well as increase your fluid intake while breastfeeding to encourage healthy bowel movements, even when you are busy.
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Constipation During Pregnancy: Five Ways To Get Things Moving Again
You expected morning sickness and fatigue during your pregnancy but constipation and hemorrhoids? Unfortunately, irregular bowel movements and constipation are common pregnancy complaints. And all that straining can lead to painful hemorrhoids swollen veins in the rectum.
Pregnancy isnt always the most comfortable time. Constipation and hemorrhoids can heighten discomfort even more. Being unable to have regular bowel movements can make you feel even more bloated and miserable. So, whats slowing things down?
Hyagriv Simhan, MD, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, says many things cause constipation during pregnancy. For one, progesterone relaxes the muscles of the intestines, which slows down your gastrointestinal tract.
Also, your increased blood supply requires more fluid intake. Not drinking enough can leave you dehydrated and contribute to slow bowel movements. The iron in your prenatal vitamins might also cause constipation.
Varicose Veins Hemorrhoids And Constipation
Varicose veins, usually found in the legs and genital area, happen when blood pools in veins enlarged by pregnancy hormones. Varicose veins often go away after pregnancy. To help prevent them:
- avoid standing or sitting for long periods
- wear loose-fitting clothing
- wear support hose
- raise your feet when you sit
Hemorrhoids varicose veins in the rectum are common during pregnancy as well. Your blood volume has increased and your uterus puts pressure on your pelvis. So the veins in your rectum may enlarge into grape-like clusters. Hemorrhoids can be very painful, and can bleed, itch, or sting, especially during or after a bowel movement .
Constipation is another common pregnancy woe. It happens because pregnancy hormones slow the passing of food through the gastrointestinal tract. During the later stages of pregnancy, your uterus may push against your large intestine, making it hard for you to have a BM. And constipation can contribute to hemorrhoids because straining to go may enlarge the veins of the rectum.
The best way to deal with constipation and hemorrhoids is to prevent them. Eating a fiber-rich diet, drinking plenty of liquids daily, and exercising regularly can help keep BMs regular. Stool softeners may also help. If you do have hemorrhoids, talk to your health care provider about a cream or ointment that can shrink them.
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When During Pregnancy Do You Get Constipated
And slower moving intestines means slower digestion. This can lead to constipation. Constipation is common during pregnancy. Almost three out of four pregnant women will experience constipation and other bowel issues at some point, according to a study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
What Can I Do About Constipation When I’m Pregnant
You don’t have to resign yourself to nine months of discomfort. There are plenty of tactics to combat colon congestion :
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How To Deal With Constipation During Pregnancy
Constipation is often an early sign of pregnancy, and sometimes it continues for all nine months . Here’s what you can do to get relief from pregnancy constipation.
Both of Adele Hedricks pregnancies were marred by months of cramping, bloating and gassiness thanks to constipation, which affects 11 to 38 percent of pregnant women. It added so much more discomfort to pregnancy, says the Bowmanville, Ont. mom of two. When she developed painful hemorrhoids as a result of straining, Hedrick knew it was time to put some serious effort into softening her stools. I focused on drinking lots of water and eating whatever fibre I could get my hands on, she says. All-Bran was my best friend.
What causes pregnancy constipationWhen you become pregnant, rising levels of the hormone progesterone slow your digestive system to a snails pace, and for good reason: your body is absorbing the extra nutrients and fluids it needs to grow a healthy baby. The result, though, is harder stools that are more difficult to pass. This happens so early that its a first sign of pregnancy for some women, says Suzanne Wong, an OB/GYN at Torontos St. Josephs Health Centre.
Causes & Remedies For Constipation In Pregnancy Metamucil
Occasional constipation in pregnancy is a frequent pregnancy complaint. It affects up to 38% of pregnant women1 and is most common in the second trimester.2 Growing a baby inside you is a big feat. Add irregular bowel movements or difficult evacuation, and you may start to worry. But you are not alone.
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What Can I Do To Help Prevent Constipation
There are several lifestyle changes you can make that help prevent constipation:
When Can I Expect Constipation To End While I’m Pregnant
For some women, constipation lasts throughout pregnancy as progesterone levels peak. However, if you change up your eating and exercise habits, things usually begin moving more smoothly. And you can take steps to combat constipation at any point during your pregnancy.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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Prevalence Of Constipation In Pregnancy
Constipation is a commonly reported condition during pregnancy that appears to decrease as the pregnancy progresses.
- A case series study found that 39% of pregnant women reported symptoms of constipation at 14 weeks, 30% at 28 weeks and 20% at 36 weeks this study may have resulted in overestimates, as routine iron supplementation was recommended for all pregnant women in the United Kingdom at the time the study was conducted.
- Later studies have found that constipation affects up to 25% of women during pregnancy:
- a prospective case series study found prevalence rates of 24% , 26% , 16% in the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively. In multivariable longitudinal analysis, iron supplements and past constipation treatment were associated with constipation during pregnancy
- a correlational study found prevalence rates of 29.6%, 19% and 21.8% in the first, second and third trimesters respectively. This study also reported laxative use among pregnant women as 11% , 15% and 13.5% in the first, second and third trimesters.
Your Position On The Toilet
Having a good position on the toilet can help when you are emptying your bowels.
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What Remedies Should Not Be Used For Constipation During Pregnancy
Laxative pills are NOT recommended for the treatment of constipation during pregnancy because they might stimulate uterine contractions and cause dehydration. Talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter fiber supplement or a laxative or stool softener.
Mineral oils should NOT be used during pregnancy because they reduce nutrient absorption.
Is Being Gassy A Sign Of Pregnancy
One of the most common early pregnancy symptoms is an increase in progesterone and estrogen, which causes many women to swell up and produce pregnancy gas. Abdominal pain or tightness, bloating, belching, and passing gas are all common side effects of pregnancy, which can last up to nine months.
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How Common Is Constipation In Pregnancy
About 16 to 39% of people get constipated at some point during pregnancy. Youre most likely to get constipated in the third trimester, when the fetus is heaviest and putting the most pressure on your bowel. Constipation can happen in all three trimesters, though. Sometimes, youll continue to be constipated up to three months after the babys born.
Blood In Your Stool During Pregnancy
Blood on the tissue after wiping can send you into a state of panic. But dont think the worst.
Seeing some blood in your stool or on the toilet paper is another common pregnancy occurrence, especially if youve been dealing with constipation.
Constipation isnt only physically uncomfortable, it can also lead to straining. This can cause small rectal tears or swollen veins . Both can cause bleeding from the rectum usually a small amount of blood that appears pink or bright red.
Hemorrhoids and anal fissures can heal on their own. But to prevent the occurrence of new ones, take steps to avoid constipation and dont strain.
Even though fissures and hemorrhoids are common, you should always notify your doctor of bleeding during bowel movements. Bleeding is sometimes due to other issues in the digestive tract more so when blood appears black or tarry.
Be mindful that eating certain foods can also change the color of your stools, making them appear red. This can happen after eating beets or foods that contain red or black food coloring.
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Do You Poop Less When Pregnant
When it occurs during pregnancy, though, its often due to an increase in the hormone progesterone. This hormone slows muscle contractions in the intestines. And when muscle contractions slow down, your bowels dont flow as freely or as easily. Symptoms of constipation include hard, dry stools, bloating, and straining.
Bowel Movements During Delivery
While it may be embarrassing to think about before delivery, it is very common for a woman to have a bowel movement during delivery. A bowel movement is most likely to occur when you are pushing the baby out as many of the same muscles are engaged.
Even though the idea may frighten or embarrass you, chances are you wont even know it is happening, and your doctor will not bring attention to it when and if it does.
The best advice is to try not to worry or focus on it happening, and more than likely, youll be focused on so many other things youll forget all about the possibility during labor.
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A Diet That Lacks Fiber
If you are pregnant and not consuming foods rich in fiber content, you may find it difficult to have bowel movements. Fiber-rich foods have several benefits for pregnant women. Beyond the fiber content, these foods tend to be highly nutritious. You can increase your fiber intake by eating foods containing fiber, such as asparagus, avocados, and lentils.
What Is The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
The first trimester is the earliest phase of pregnancy. It starts on the first day of your last period — before youre even actually pregnant — and lasts until the end of the 13th week. Its a time of great anticipation and of rapid changes for both you and your baby. Knowing what to expect will help you get ready for the months ahead.
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Could It Be A Sign Of Something More Serious
While most cases of constipation are not a sign of illness, sometimes there are complications such as haemorrhoids, faecal impaction or rectal prolapse. In rare cases, constipation can be caused by more serious conditions such as tumours.
Speak with your doctor if you are concerned, and especially if you notice blood in your stools.
What Medications Should I Avoid
Always be sure to avoid polyethylene glycol and magnesium citrate while expecting, as these could possibly harm your baby.
Castor oil must also be avoided, as it can cause irregular and painful contractions, which can be stressful on mom and baby, and possibly even lead to labor. It may also cause your baby to pass meconium before delivery, which often leads to complications after birth .
Play It Safe
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How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Constipated
You might need to take measures to prevent constipation from taking place in your pup since he or she hasnt had any intestinal movement for several days. Constipation is also experienced by straining, crouching, or whined while attempting to clean. You may also be able to detect fresh grass, clumps or a matted area for the ave of your dog.
Constipation In Pregnant Women
Constipation only worsens during pregnancy and usually peaks during the second and third trimesters. “The iron in prenatal vitamins can contribute to constipation, but it’s also privy to skeletal changes to allow room for the growing uterus,” said Maxim, explaining that the intestinal tract becomes squished as the baby grows, causing slow transit of bowel contents through the intestines.
Along with iron supplements, progesterone may also be the cause of constipation. Progesterone relaxes your muscles, slowing the digestive tract causing bloating and difficulty having a bowel movement.
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Side Effects Of Treatments For Pregnancy Constipation
Because all medications have side effects, you should try increasing fiber, water, and exercise before taking laxatives. If you do need laxatives, talk to your doctor about the best one for your condition. Once you start laxatives, it may take several months to wean off of them. You should only use osmotic and stimulant laxatives short-term.
Talk to your doctor about seeing a gastroenterologist if you have:
- Bowel habit changes that have lasted longer than six weeks
Why Do Pregnant Women Experience Changes In Bowel Movements
“It is not uncommon to experience changes to bowel movements during pregnancy,” Andrea Maxim, a naturopathic doctor from southern Ontario, told FamilyEducation.
According to Maxim, a combination of hormonal fluctuations, nervousness about the new pregnancy, and a change in eating habits can all contribute to constipation or diarrhea during early pregnancy and throughout the first trimester.
Later in pregnancy, constipation may continue to be an issue, coupled with hemorrhoids.
Some women notice a change in their bowel habits as an early sign of pregnancy. Diarrhea is often one of the earliest signs, even before a missed period or pregnancy test. For me, it was one of my first signs and how I knew I was pregnant the second time because it was exactly like my first pregnancy!
Because of an increase in hCG, the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone strongly affects the digestive system it contributes to feelings of nausea and morning sickness.
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