Pregnancy is a state and many physiological changes take place during this period. The pressure of the growing womb (uterus) on the rectum increases the transit time of the food and pregnancy women frequently experience varied signs and symptoms of constipation.
Causes of Constipation in pregnancy: >br/> Pregnancy leads to change in diet, there are strong likes and dislikes for food, mood changes, anxiety all affect the physiological processes. The hormonal levels during pregnancy are high and they slow down the digestive system and increase the food transit time. This is because the hormones relax the intestinal muscle exerting pressure of the expanding uterus on the intestines. Relaxation of the intestinal muscle causes food and waste to move slower through the digestive tract. Morning sickness during pregnancy leads to nausea and very low consumption of food are also the reasons for constipation.
There are few tips to avoid constipation during pregnancy. These are:
- Eat a high fiber diet: Plenty of fruits, vegetables, breakfast cereals, whole grain breads, prunes and bran must be a part of daily diet.
- Drink a lot of fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids is important, particularly with increased intake of fiber. It is the combination of a high fiber diet and lots of liquid that best help eliminate the undigested waste. Sweat, hot/humid climates, and exercise increases need for additional fluids.
- Exercise routinely: Light exercises such as walking, yoga are recommended during pregnancy. Always follow exercise regime during pregnancy as per doctor’s advice.
- Reduce or eliminate iron supplements: Iron supplements are recommended during pregnancy and are often prescribed. In case of recurrent constipation, one must discuss this issue with the doctor and request for change of prescription. Necessary diet changes are recommended.
Constipation can sometimes lead to hemorrhoids or piles, which can be extremely uncomfortable. During pregnancy, one must never exert pressure or strain to pass stools. This can have adverse effect on the pregnancy. It is recommended to discuss the difficulties in passing stools with the doctor.
Home remedies for constipation:
Simple remedies to treat constipation are use of mild laxative, change in diet and light exercises. Ayurveda recommends simple home remedies such as using castor oil, warm water to drink and early meal times prevent constipation during pregnancy.
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