Constipation is common throughout pregnancy. It can be uncomfortable & annoying. Not to mention leave you feeling cranky from the build-up of toxins! When you’re constipated with all the other changes happening in your body, it’s the last thing you need!
Constipation is common throughout pregnancy for a couple of reasons.
Progesterone Contributes to Constipation
Progesterone is the primary hormone that takes over during pregnancy. One of its many jobs is to act as a muscle relaxant. The large intestine (where your poo comes from) is a muscle, so, if it is more relaxed, then it can’t expel the faeces as well as it usually does.
The other reason constipation is common during pregnancy is that in the later months, once the baby & placenta grow larger & heavier, the weight from this puts pressure on the lower bowel & can decrease circulation to the area. This can also contribute towards constipation.
What to Do to Keep Regular
Firstly, look at keeping your diet as healthy as possible. The nutrients from your diet, help to make your baby, so healthy eating during pregnancy is important. You also need plenty of fibre from healthy foods can help to keep your bowels regular.
Secondly, never resist the urge to defecate. Listen to your body. If it’s time to go, it’s time to go! You may only get the urge once a day if lucky, so if you’re busy, just excuse yourself from whatever you’re doing. It’s extremely important that you go to the toilet.
Lastly, exercise also helps to “get things moving”. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, swimming, cycling, walking or even yoga can help keep things moving.
What to do if Constipation Does Take Hold
If constipation does take hold (no pun intended), Ann McIntyre suggests the following foods to eat:
Specifically, try prunes, dried figs, apricots, rhubarb, apples, raisins, honey & sesame seeds, all of which have a particular laxative effect.
Lemon juice in warm water 30 minutes before breakfast has also been known to help things move along.
Avoid tea & coffee (not recommended in pregnancy anyway) as they can aggravate constipation & go for some plain natural yoghurt with good probiotics in it (keep an eye out for excess sugar).
Lastly, drink at least 2 litres of water a day. This will help to soften the stool (poo).
Try this smoothie, providing your healthcare provider approves it:
To help things move along, make up a smoothie with baby spinach, some berries, psyllium husks, banana & some prunes. Add water, wiz in the blender & enjoy!
Remember to always see your fully qualified healthcare professional. This is a guide, but individual care needs to be sought.
References: McIntyre, Anne (1999) The Complete Women’s Herbal. A manual of healing herbs & nutrition for personal wellbeing & family care. Gaia Publishing UK p.122