Constipation in pregnancy
Constipation in pregnancy is linked to both your diet and to your hormones. During pregnancy, an increase in the hormone progesterone produced by your body relaxes the muscles of the intestinal wall which slows down the movement of food through your digestive system. This may lead to constipation in pregnancy.
Symptoms of constipation in pregnancy
- Less than three bowel movements in one week.
- Making it difficult to pass, when you do go to the toilet.
- Decreased appetite.
- Lower abdominal bloating, pain or cramps.
Does constipation have to do with your diet?
The food you eat can have an impact on your digestion. Some foods can increase your chances of being constipated during pregnancy. Other foods can help in relieving constipation.
Foods linked to constipation
White bread, white rice, refined cereals and pasta are not only filling, but a combination of high-in-starch and low-in-fibre content which means that they can take longer to digest.
Foods that can help to relieve constipation in pregnancy
- Fibre-rich foods, such as whole-grain cereals, brown rice and breads, peas and beans, fresh fruits and veggies (raw or lightly cooked) and dried fruits can help in easing constipation.
- Yoghurts that contain active cultures stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better, which can aid digestion.
- Fluids such as water, vegetable soup and fruit juice literally help flush food through your system. Try to drink about 10 cups of water (2.3 liters) per day or more if you are active or thirsty.
What else you can do to alleviate constipation ?
Over-eating can lead to constipation. Try to eat smaller amounts, more often. This will also help you to feel less bloated. Regular exercise during pregnancy encourages regular bowel movements. Remember to consult your doctor about exercises that are suitable for your body type and pregnancy stage.
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