More than half the women struggle with constipation during their pregnancy. While it can be termed as a routine problem, when you are actually in the painful situation, there is nothing ordinary about it. You need remedies and you need it to work!
Let’s try to understand what causes constipation?
To cure constipation, we need to understand what causes it. During pregnancy, there are natural hormonal changes. The hormone progesterone relaxes the muscles like intestinal muscles, which slows down digestion; frequently resulting in constipation. In addition to this, as the uterus expands with the growing baby, considerable pressure is exerted on the intestines; which causes abdominal pain. The iron supplements that are usually prescribed by the doctors to ensure that the pregnant woman does not get anaemic, results in hard stools. These are usually the causes for constipation during pregnancy.
Now, let’s list the remedies that can safely cure constipation!
Fibre – Fibre is the magic ingredient that could ease up the symptoms of constipation. Fibre, or roughage is the material in vegetables that stays undigested and aids the passage of food and waste products. 25-30 gms of fibre found in foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, bran cereals, prunes and whole-grain bread should work the magic.
Water – During pregnancy, the body requires almost double the amount of normal water intake in order to stay hydrated. When this does not happen, the result is hard stools that are difficult to pass. Hence drinking at least 8-10 cups of water is optimal.
Exercise – Regular exercise stimulates the bowels. A session of yoga, a swim in the pool or a brisk walk should get your bowel muscles working well. Pregnant women are advised to work out 3 times a week. Your doctor should be able to suggest the activity that would work best for you.
Smaller, frequent meals – As explained earlier, during pregnancy, digestion slows down. So, it makes sense to eat smaller meals at shorter intervals, and this will allow the digestive system to function smoothly.
tool softeners – If all the above natural remedies do not work, stool softeners could be used. However, it has to be according to the doctor’s advice and it definitely cannot be a long-term remedy.