Pregnancy comes with a whole host of unpleasant side effects, but constipation might just be one of the worst. The gas, bloating, and constant pressure can make a mama-to-be quite miserable. We’re here to let you know about the causes of constipation during pregnancy, plus what you can do about it!
There are a lot of reasons why you may be finding yourself in this situation, but constipation during pregnancy is usually because of hormones, your expanding uterus, stress, and supplements.
Pregnancy hormones such as progesterone are important in keeping a healthy pregnancy. But these hormones can also bring some less-than-pleasant side effects, like slowing your digestive system. Plus, the bigger your baby gets, the more he or she pushes down on your bowels, making it challenging for business to happen as usual.
Supplements like calcium and iron are known to cause constipation and are both found in prenatal vitamins. However, calcium and iron are also important components for your growing baby. So, don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins to move things along without first asking your doctor.
But fear not! There are a few simple steps you can take to get control of this unpleasant issue.
How to Fix It
Fiber is your best friend when it comes to treating constipation. Good sources of fiber include beans, leafy greens, and of course, prunes. Fiber can show up in unexpected places, like popcorn and even kiwis. But make sure to ease your body into a fiber-rich diet, so you don’t end up trading one miserable condition (constipation) for another (earth-rattling gas).
2. Keep Hydrated
So many pregnancy articles suggest uping your water intake, and so does this one. Drink. Water. The longer a stool hangs around in the colon, the more water is absorbed, and the harder it gets. So more water means softer stools.
3. Get Some Exercise
Getting moving, especially after you eat, is a great way to kick your digestion into high gear. You can do something simple like going for a walk after lunch.
4. Don’t Hold It
No one likes to use public bathrooms, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Holding it in can make constipation worse, so go if you feel the urge.
What Not to Do
Don’t take any medications like laxatives or mineral oil while you’re pregnant unless your doctor prescribes them. That’s because they come with unwanted side effects, like dehydration and uterine contractions.