One of the body’s most amazing achievements, as I’m sure you are now feeling, is its ability to create, carry and nurture life. Of course, you might have a few difficulties along the way, and one of those can be constipation. You can find that constipation is a common issue through any stage of your pregnancy, and it’s often down to the hormonal changes that you’re experiencing. You might also begin to suffer from frequent constipation if you take an iron supplement to avoid anaemia. However, there are a few things you can do prevent it from happening in the first place, and to relieve it when it does.
Most people with mild constipation only need to wait for a few days until things return to normal. Sometimes you may only need to drink more water or eat more roughage to get things moving. However, the first thing many people reach for is a laxative, whether it be a natural food laxative (like prunes and rhubarb), or a medicinal laxative. Find out more about laxatives here.
Laxatives can come with side effects, ranging from wind and bloating to cramps and diarrhoea. Laxatives should only be taken for short-term relief, because taking it for a long period can make your bowel dependent on the extra help that laxatives provide. This means that when you stop taking the laxative, your bowel is less efficient at digesting food than it was before. You should always be mindful to consult your doctor before you choose to take an over the counter laxative.
With that in mind, you might feel more comfortable taking a natural approach. The same recommendations apply for constipation during pregnancy as at any other time, which is to eat more roughage (dietary fibre) and to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water every day. You might also want to look into taking a probiotic & prebiotic supplement, which naturally encourages bowel movements and has been studied to work well for pregnant women. The great thing about probiotics is that they’re rigorously trialled and tested to make sure they’re completely safe, and that they don’t interact with any medication that you’re already taking. Find out more about the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to ask your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy. Find out about other natural remedies for constipation.
References & Footnotes
Magan Trottier, MSc, Aida Erebara, MD, and Pina Bozzo. Treating constipation during pregnancy
Inge de Milliano, Merit M Tabbers, Joris A van der Post and Marc A Benninga. Is a multispecies probiotic mixture effective in constipation during pregnancy?