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Is Constipation During Pregnancy Normal?

Is Constipation During Pregnancy Normal?

It is rare to find an expectant mother who is not suffering from constipation. Constipation during pregnancy is very, very common, unfortunately. 

Not only do your intestines become compressed as the baby takes up more and more space, but the hormone, progesterone, causes the smooth muscle tissue to relax. 

This can cause the waste to remain in the intestines longer and absorb even more fluid, making bowel movements harder to pass. 

Thus the result is often chronic constipation during pregnancy for many moms-to-be.

lady sitting on a toilet with toilet paper.

Ways to Help Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy:

Adding Fiber-Rich Foods, Fluids and Exercise Can Help You Stay Regular

Sometimes the easiest solutions to your constipation woes are the most natural. There is a growing market of products available on the market that are high in fiber, including cereals, cereal bars, and bread. 

Don’t forget that some of the best high-fiber foods to keep you regular include whole grains, fresh fruits such as pears and raspberries, vegetables such as artichokes and broccoli, and legumes such as peas, lentils, and beans. 

These are only some of the many nutritious, high-fiber foods to add to your healthy pregnancy diet.

How Much Water Are You Drinking? 

To help prevent constipation, try to drink at least 48-64 ounces of fluid each day. The majority of your fluid intake should be water, and the rest can be other fluids such as juices, decaf coffee, or tea.

Regular exercise is a helpful way to keep your body regular. Getting outside and taking a brisk walk several times a week or even a short walk daily can help prevent and relieve constipation.

Drinking plain water can be difficult while pregnant for many women. You may find it easier to drink flavored water or use water supplements like Liquid IV.

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Fiber Supplements are Safe to Use for Constipation Relief

In most cases, adding fiber supplements, such as Metamucil and Citrocel, to your diet during pregnancy should be safe. Be sure to take these supplements with plenty of water.

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How Can I Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy?

Most care providers recommend that mild laxatives can be used. These include medications such as stool softeners and Milk of Magnesia. 

Stool softeners help to make stool easier to pass but generally do not contain harsh chemicals or stimulants. (It is always recommended to read ingredients labels just to be sure!) And we always recommend checking with your Obstetrician to see what they recommend before taking anything.

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Milk of Magnesia is a treatment for heartburn as well as constipation. It contains magnesium which helps to increase fluid in the intestines and decrease stomach acid. Your provider can give you safe dosages on both stool softeners and Milk of Magnesia.

Laxatives Containing Stimulants Should be Avoided

It might be tempting to find relief from constipation by turning to harsh laxatives since they work rather quickly and effectively. 

However, over time and with regular use (as much as 3 times a week), these harsh stimulants can cause nerve damage in the colon so that they cannot work properly. 

Eating high fiber foods and adding fiber supplements will be healthier for you and for your baby during pregnancy.

Can Constipation Hurt the Baby?

No, constipation does not hurt the baby. It’s an annoyance to you and could become a bigger problem if not addressed but it does not impact the baby’s growth or health. 

When Should I Be Concerned About Constipation in Pregnancy? 

Generally, being constipated isn’t a concern while pregnant. However, if you find yourself constipated with severe abdominal pain or constipated with blood in your stool when it does pass or finding yourself alternating with diarrhea, it’s time to contact your physician. 

What Helps Constipation Naturally While Pregnant?

Like we mentioned before, staying hydrated, drinking plenty of fluid, maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of fiber and staying active while pregnant are all very helpful things you can do while pregnant. 

These are all natural and easy things to make sure you’re doing throughout your pregnancy to avoid constipation. 

Is Constipation Common in Early Pregnancy?

Yes, constipation is very common and likely in the first trimester as your body is increasing the production of progesterone. Progesterone slows down the bowels, digestion and relaxes the intestines, which also slows their movement of stool. 

Related: What to Do in the First Trimester & What to Expect in the First Trimester of Pregnancy Ultrasound

What is the Best Stool Softener for Pregnancy?

Most obstetricians will recommend that you use Colace (also known as docusate) if your natural remedies are not working as well as you’d like. Always check with your own care provider to see what they recommend. 

Are Bananas Good For Constipation?

If you eat well ripe bananas that can help your constipation. However, if you have green bananas that haven’t ripened yet, they can make your constipation worse. 

Related: Morning (Pregnancy) Sickness Tips and Foods that help relieve pregnancy nausea. 

Have you experienced constipation during pregnancy? What has worked for you? Feel free to share in the comments. 

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