When I wasn't pregnant yet, constipation is just one of the many things I ignore or don’t take seriously. A few days of infrequent bowel movements with abdominal pain and then, poof, it’s gone! But when you’re pregnant, even a small problem like constipation would need monitoring.
Constipation or irregular bowel movement is a very common problem during pregnancy, and the difficulty in emptying bowels is related to hardened feces. And did you know that almost 50% of pregnant women experience constipation during pregnancy?
When you’re carrying a child, the least you want to hurt is your tummy, right? But then here comes constipation. One of the reasons you are possibly experiencing constipation is because of the increase in progesterone hormone during pregnancy. Progesterone relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including your intestines - sluggish moving intestines means slower digestion. Then we know what happens next - constipation.
What can you do to prevent indigestion and constipation during pregnancy?
1. Eat high fiber foods
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bran cereals, nuts, and seeds are all high in fiber. These foods normalize bowel movement, acts as prebiotics, and produces short-chain fatty acids. introducing fiber may cause a little discomfort at first and until the “blockage” is cleared. Continual consumption of fiber will help keep bowel movements regular and prevent the re-occurrence of constipation.
2. Drink plenty of water
It may be tiring to hear but water really is the universal solvent. It’s capable of dissolving different substances. Pregnant women should drink at least eight 10-ounce glasses of water a day or frequent sipping throughout the day. Fresh fruit juices that are high in fiber can also help in maintaining a healthy digestion. This will help keep your bowels moving smoothly through your digestive tract.
3. Regular physical exercise
Brisk walking, yoga, or as simple as stretching can help relieve constipation and also leave you feeling healthy and fit. Only perform the above activities when approved to be safe for your overall condition by your healthcare professionals. As with any exercise program, should you feel any discomfort, you should stop immediately.
4. Prenatal vitamins
Vitamins that are high in fiber can be helpful in keeping your digestive tract on the go. Refer to your healthcare provider on which vitamins can be most supportive to your pregnancy.
5. Bowel monitoring
When you have regular and frequent bowel activity then it’s safe to assume your digestive tract is well. But if you notice any pain, difficulty in releasing bowels, and infrequent visits to the comfort room, be sure to drink plenty of water, eat high fiber food as your first aid. If the problem persists, we highly recommend that you see your healthcare provider.
Constipation is common and can be remedied, but ignoring the problem may get worse later in pregnancy due to the pressure of your growing uterus on your rectum. If the problem comes with a lot of discomfort, bleeding, or diarrhea, please see your healthcare provider. To avoid all these, always keep your health in check, mommas!
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