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What Causes Constipation In Pregnancy

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Prevention And Home Remedies

Constipation during pregnancy

Having infrequent bowel movements or stools that are difficult to pass can be quite uncomfortable even at the best of times, but these symptoms of constipation can be even more unpleasant when youâre pregnant and dealing with a host of other aches and pains.

You may wish there were a miracle cure, or a medical formula, for immediate relief from your pregnancy constipation, but unfortunately there isnât. Instead, focus on changes you can make to your diet and levels of activity, which may get things moving in time.

Here are some you can take to help prevent or relieve constipation during pregnancy:

  • Drink lots of fluids, such as water, prune juice, and other 100 percent fruit juices.

  • Consume high-fiber foods, aiming for at least 25 grams per day. Include vegetables, fruits, beans, whole-grain products, and bran cereal in your diet. Increasing your fiber intake suddenly can cause a side effect of excess gas, so take care to eat your meals slowly and avoid swallowing too much air. Also, avoid carbonated drinks and chewing gum to help prevent a build-up of gas.

  • Exercise regularly. Check with your healthcare provider to find out what you can safely do. Even simply walking more can help encourage your digestive system to get going.

  • Instead of eating three large meals a day, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day to make the food easier to digest.

What Is Constipation In Pregnancy

  • Key points:
  • Constant changes in hormones during pregnancy can cause constipation. During the first trimester, these hormones may cause excess progesterone to be released.

    This can slow down movement in your intestines, leading to constipation. For some women, the cause of constipation during this stage is dehydration because they are limited in dietary intake.

    Diets that are low in fiber can cause a bloated feeling, leading to constipation.

    Constipation In Pregnancy Remedies

    Diet is one of the best ways to tackle constipation. “Include plenty of fibre-rich foods such as wholegrain cereals, oats, vegetables and dried fruit such as apricots and prunes,” says Mervi. “Beans and pulses are also good sources. However, make sure you also up your fluid intake or it could be a painful process.”

    You should aim to drink around 1.5 litres of fluid be it water, juice or herbal tea. This helps to keep your bowels soft and moving through your digestive tract.

    Gentle exercise, including walking or swimming, is also good for constipation as it increases circulation to stimulate your digestive system.

    Rather than your usual three meals a day, consider splitting them into five or six smaller ones. This gives your stomach time to digest the food without having to work overtime while bigger meals make it tough for your digestive system to process what you’ve eaten.

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    When Should I Contact My Ob

    Constipation is very common during pregnancy. Although it can make you feel like youre all stopped up, its usually not serious. If constipation is impacting your daily activities or eating, or is causing significant pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor.

    For more information or to schedule an appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist near you, visit the UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital online, or call 1-866-696-2433 .

    Colace® is a trademark of Avrio Health L.P.

    Editor’s Note: This gallery was originally published on November 9, 2014.

    What Medications Can I Take To Relieve Constipation When Im Pregnant

    How To Treat Severe Constipation In Pregnancy

    If you cant get relief through lifestyle changes, your healthcare provider may prescribe a laxative or a fiber supplement that can help. Always check with your provider before taking any laxatives or supplements, though. Not all of them have been tested for safety and effectiveness during pregnancy. Avoid home remedies for constipation, like castor oil or mineral oil, unless your provider recommends you take them.

    What are side effects of the treatment?

    Some laxatives can cause you to become dehydrated and imbalance your electrolytes. This is why its so important to be sure that youre taking the right laxative and that youre taking it for the right amount of time. Speak to your provider to be sure.

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    What Can I Take For Constipation During Pregnancy

    If you have tried some of these natural pregnancy constipation remedies, but are not finding the relief that youre looking for, you may be wondering if you can take a laxative to help move things along. Always talk to your midwife or doctor about your constipation before taking any over-the-counter products.

    There are a few different options when considering laxative medication for constipation in pregnancy, lets take a look at these options:

    Can Straining Cause A Miscarriage

    Straining to have a bowel movement will not cause a miscarriage. According to the American Pregnancy Association, most miscarriages happen from:

    • Problems with the babys chromosomes.
    • Problems with the mothers hormones, uterus, or cervix.
    • Infections or exposure to certain toxins.
    • Lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking alcohol, or using illegal drugs.
    • Having certain health conditions like diabetes or kidney disease.

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    Watch Your Calcium Intake

    Too much calcium can cause constipation. Calcium is found in many foods and supplements, particularly dairy products. If you overdo it on the milk and cheese, you might find your bowels get backed up.

    Food sensitivities can sometimes contribute to constipation. Keep track of what you eat to see if certain foods are related to bouts of constipation.

    Causes Of Constipation In Pregnancy

    Common Pregnancy Issues – Constipation and Haemorroids in pregnancy with Dr Emmanuel Karantanis

    There are a number of different causes for constipation during pregnancy. It can occur at any given stage.

    If a woman is in the early stages of pregnancy, then this could be due to hormonal changes in her body that prevent her from digesting food properly.

    If it occurs later in the pregnancy, then it could be due to the pressure on her abdomen from the baby pressing down on her stomach and intestines.

    Causes of constipation include:

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    Pregnancy Nausea Or Vomiting

    It’s very common — and normal — to have an upset stomach when you’re pregnant.

    Chalk it up to pregnancy’s hormonal changes. It usually happens early in pregnancy, while your body is adjusting to the higher hormone levels.

    Good news: Nausea usually disappears by the fourth month of pregnancy . It can happen at any time of the day but may be worse in the morning, when your stomach is empty or if you aren’t eating enough.


    Avoid Foods That Can Cause Gas

    High-fiber foods like raisins, prunes, and carrots can help you have a good, solid bowel movement.

    But foods that can cause gas or bloating could also cause constipation, so take your babys needs into consideration.

    Sodium can also cause an increase of pressure in the stomach leading your bowels to be slower. So it causes constipation, so if you have sodium sensitivity thats just going to be another thing to check with your doctor.

    Salt is also an irritant to the colon, so avoid eating large amounts. Instead, cook with extra salt.

    When cooking, use less salt, but be sure to use whole-grain salt when possible to keep your sodium intake from being too high.

    Glycemic index foods can also cause constipation. Foods high in sugar or carbswill cause a spike in blood sugar. This can slow down the passage of food through the intestines, causing constipation.

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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.

    Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy

    Constipation During Pregnancy Natural Remedy

    Shortness of breath can happen due to increased upward pressure from the uterus and changes in physiologic lung function.


    • When walking, slow down and rest a few moments.
    • Raise your arms over your head .
    • Avoid lying flat on your back, and try sleeping with your head elevated.
    • If prolonged shortness of breathing continues or you experience sharp pain when inhaling, contact your health care provider. You could have a pulmonary embolism .

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    Swelling In The Feet And Legs During Pregnancy

    Pressure from your growing uterus on the blood vessels carrying blood from the lower body causes fluid buildup. The result is swelling in the legs and feet.

    Additional weight during pregnancy can also make your feet bigger. Plus, pregnancy hormones loosen your ligaments and muscles so your pelvic joints open up to get ready for childbirth. This affects your whole body, even your feet. Call your doctor if any swelling is more than mild or if it suddenly gets worse.


    • Try not to stay on your feet for long periods of time. Avoid standing in one place.
    • Drink plenty of fluids .
    • Avoid foods high in salt .
    • Elevate your legs and feet while sitting. Avoid crossing your legs.
    • Wear loose, comfortable clothing tight clothing can slow circulation and increase fluid retention.
    • Soak your feet in cool water.
    • Keep moving. Exercise your legs to keep fluid from building up.
    • Don’t wear tight shoes choose supportive shoes with low, wide heels.
    • Keep your diet rich in protein too little protein can cause fluid retention.
    • Notify your health care provider if your hands or face swell. This may be a warning sign of preeclampsia.
    • Rest on your side during the day to help increase blood flow to your kidneys.


    How To Relief Constipation While Pregnant

    It is known that taking the medicine for pregnant women is undesirable since it may adversely affect the fetus. Then how to treat constipation during pregnancy? Drugs should be prescribed only when a doctor can see serious evidence.

    Using medicines is not safe during pregnancy. The drugs can cause miscarriage, disturbances in fetal development. If a mom wants a healthy child, she should not take the medication without a prescription.

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    When To See Your Gp

    Be sure to contact your GP if you havent been to the loo for a long time and are in pain. “Your GP may prescribe laxatives to help encourage a bowel movement,” says Mervi.

    As not all stool-softeners and laxatives have been tested on pregnant women, make sure you mention to your pharmacist that you’re pregnant. “If you can only get to a pharmacy, make sure you tell the chemist that youre pregnant so they can give you a laxative thats safe in pregnancy.”

    If youve developed piles, you can get creams and ointments to treat the discomfort, but see your doctor if you get persistent bleeding.

    While Constipation During Pregnancy Is Uncomfortable & Unfortunately Common There Are Several Ways To Treat It & Ease Discomfort

    Pregnancy Problems: Constipation

    Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms experienced by pregnant women. In fact, constipation during pregnancy affects up to 40 percent of women.

    Experiencing constipation while pregnant can mean passing hard stools, at times painfully. It can also mean having less frequent bowel movements and involve additional symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, cramping and flatulence.

    Why do women experience constipation during pregnancy?

    The main reason pregnancy is thought to cause constipation is due to pregnancy hormones relaxing the bowels and causing them to work more slowly.

    How do you relieve constipation during pregnancy?

    As constipation can cause discomfort during pregnancy, its best to treat or prevent it whenever possible. Some tips that may help to relieve constipation during pregnancy include:

    Eating foods that are high in fibre, such as wholemeal breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, and pulses, such as beans and lentils. You should aim to consume about 30 grams of fibre per day

    Exercising on a regular basis. Walking, swimming or other exercise can help to stimulate your bowels

    Drinking plenty of water try to drink six to eight glasses of fluids each day

    If you’re taking iron and calcium supplements, these can make you even more constipated. You can discuss stopping taking these or changing to a different formulation with your doctor

    When should I be worried about constipation during pregnancy?

    You should see a GP if you:

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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.

    Constipation Remedies During Pregnancy

    If you find yourself having difficulty going to the toilet, you may need to try these ten pregnancy-safe remedies to get things moving again.

  • Plenty of Fluids: Drinking lots of water throughout the day will help flush things through. Make sure youre getting at least ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day to replace lost fluids. This can even help with constipation caused by taking iron supplements. If its hot outside or if your activity level is high you should take more fluids correspondingly.
  • Get Moving: Moving helps things get moving! Walking, swimming and yoga are all great exercises for your pregnant body.
  • Warm Bath: A nice warm soak will help relax your stomach muscles and will encourage stools to move through. A nice warm soak will help relax you and your stomach muscles and will encourage stools to move through.
  • Increase Fiber Intake: High-fiber foods help remove undigested food from your intestines and into the toilet. Broccoli, berries, beans, brown rice, and green leafy vegetables all work wonders to help you go.
  • Drink Lemon Water: Take the juice from half a lemon, mix it into a glass of water, and drink before you go to bed. The water helps soften the stool, and the lemon has a high acidic content, which works on the GI tract to get things moving.
  • Editor’s Note:

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    Causes Of Pregnancy Constipation

    Pregnant women experience constipation partly because of high levels of progesterone. “This hormone causes the muscles in the wall of the bowel to relax so they’re not making the contractions needed to help move things along,” says Dr. Rabin, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City. “Plus, as your pregnancy progresses, your uterus enlarges and presses down on your bowels, which can slow their ability to empty.”

    Yet another culprit may be the iron in your prenatal vitamin or the iron supplement you may be taking because of anemia. Lastly, giving up caffeine, which naturally keeps the bowels moving, can be another cause of constipation.

    So when does constipation in pregnancy start? It can appear around the second or third month, and it may stick around until Baby makes an appearance.

    When Can I Expect Constipation To End While I’m Pregnant

    What Cause Constipation In Pregnancy

    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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    Pregnancy Heartburn Or Indigestion

    Heartburn is a burning feeling that starts in the stomach and seems to rise up to the throat. During pregnancy, changing hormone levels slow down your digestive system, weaken the stomach sphincter, and your uterus can crowd your stomach, pushing stomach acids upward.


    • Try to avoid constipation. Constipation can cause hemorrhoids and will make them more painful.
    • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time change your position frequently.
    • Don’t strain during a bowel movement.
    • Apply ice packs or cold compresses to the area or take a warm bath a few times a day to provide relief.
    • Avoid tight-fitting underwear, pants, or pantyhose.
    • If you still need more help, consult your health care provider.

    Is It Ever Serious

    Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy, but its usually not serious. with as many as 25% to 50% of all pregnant women suffering from this condition.

    Though many new moms worry about constipation, its usually not a cause of serious concern. But if your constipation becomes severe, it may develop into a more serious condition for you and your baby.

    But when constipation gets severe and wont go away, you need to take steps to treat it. Severe constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, which can become painful or even bleed. so consult your Doctor before its too late.

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    Am I More Likely To Experience Constipation If I Had It Before Pregnancy

    Women who have had constipation before pregnancy are, unfortunately, likely to experience worsening of symptoms during pregnancy.

    If you have constipation and are planning a pregnancy, try to get into good habits before you become pregnant. Keeping to a healthy diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and doing regular exercise may help you maintain regular bowel motions.

    It is better to prevent constipation early on rather than wait to treat it later.

    What Can Pregnant Women Take For Constipation

    Treating Pregnancy Symptoms : Constipation Relief in Pregnancy

    Pregnancy constipation pain can be uncomfortable. If youre wondering what over-the-counter options you can take, the good news is that stool softeners are generally considered a safe and effective option, Greves says. These medications help add moisture to your stool and make it easier to pass. Still, talk to your doctor before using any medication or supplement in pregnancy. One treatment option you should avoid altogether is laxatives Greves notes that these can cause dehydration.

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