If you’re pregnant or have be pregnant, you know all too well about constipation. If you’re considering pregnancy then this is something you need too expect.
And the problem may be compounded later in pregnancy by the pressure of your growing uterus on your rectum. Iron supplements, especially in high doses, can make constipation worse.
Constipation occurs when there is abdominal pain or discomfort, difficult and infrequent bowel movements, and the passage of hard stools. Unfortunately, constipation affects approximately half of all women at some point during their pregnancy.
In general, worry, anxiety, minimal physical exercise, and a low-fiber diet may cause constipation. Constipation in pregnant women is thought to occur due to hormones that relax the intestinal muscle and by the pressure of the expanding uterus on the intestines.
Chronic constipation is a common condition that is characterized by difficult, infrequent, or perceived incomplete evacuation of bowel movements. Symptoms of constipation include having less than 3 bowel movements per week, straining, hard stools, incomplete evacuation and inability to pass stool.
Laxative pills are NOT recommended for the treatment of constipation during pregnancy because they might stimulate uterine contractions and cause dehydration.
Mineral oils should NOT be used during pregnancy because they reduce nutrient absorption.
How can I prevent or treat constipation during pregnancy?
Here are a few things that you can do to help prevent constipation from occurring or treat it if you are already experiencing it:
Be mindful of your iron suppliments: Iron supplements may contribute to constipation. Good nutrition can often meet your iron needs during pregnancy. Taking smaller doses of iron throughout the day rather than taking it all at once can reduce constipation.
Is constipation during pregnancy ever serious?
Also, straining during a bowel movement or passing a hard stool can lead to or worsen hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the rectal area. Hemorrhoids can be extremely uncomfortable, though they rarely cause serious problems. In most cases, they go away fairly soon after your baby is born. However, if the pain is severe, or if you have rectal bleeding, call your provider.
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