Suffering from abdominal discomfort, infrequent bowel movements, and hard stools? Fret not! These are symptoms of constipation – a common condition during pregnancy. Studies show that more than 50% of pregnant women suffer from constipation at some stage during pregnancy. Constipation during this period is generally not a serious condition and does not affect the growing fetus. But in some cases, it may be a symptom of an underlying condition. Read more to know about the causes and methods to relieve this condition during pregnancy.
Yes, you guessed it right! Hormones may be the main culprit. These hormones relax the intestinal muscles and slow down the movement of food and waste through your gut, leading to constipation. If you already have constipation, it may be aggravated by the pressure of the growing uterus. Low-fiber diet, lack of physical exercise, and anxiety may also lead to this condition. Iron supplements are known to cause constipation in some cases.
Here are few tips that would be of help:
- High-fiber diet – Include more high-fiber content in your meal. Try to have around 25-30 g of fiber by taking more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods.
- Be well hydrated – Remember to have 10-12 cups of fluids in a day. This is particularly important if the fiber content is more in your diet.
- Regular exercise – symptoms of constipation aggravates with a sedentary lifestyle. Include swimming, walking or any other moderate exercises in your daily routine. Make a plan to have 20-30 min of exercise three days a week.
- Medication – Medications are available to improve bowel movement and reduce constipation. Do remember to take your doctor’s advice before taking any of the medications.
- Change iron supplements – Iron supplements are known to cause constipation. Talk to your doctor to check your iron levels and to recommend a different iron supplement. It would be better if you can get the required amounts through a balanced diet.
PS: Laxatives are generally NOT suggested for pregnancy as it may lead to dehydration and trigger uterine contractions.