When you have dry hard stools that are an ordeal to pass, you have constipation. Constipation during pregnancy can start as early as conception and persist right through your whole pregnancy. Believe me it's a tough thing to deal with more so if you are lax in your efforts. Due to hormonal changes, your system becomes sluggish in expelling the poo which loses water and becomes hard.
What causes constipation during pregnancy..
- In the first trimester it is caused by progesterone which slows down intestinal activity
- In the later part of pregnancy the pressure of your uterus on your intestines and rectum makes your system sluggish
- Iron supplement that you need for anemia has a constipating effect.
- Stress and tension contributes to constipation
- You are more susceptible to constipation if you had this problem in your prepregnancy days
- You lead a sedentary lifestyle
How can you tell you are constipated..
- If you don't have bowel movement for several days in between
- If you feel bloated, uneasy and fart in excess
- If your stool is hard and difficult to excrete
- If you feel you have not emptied your bowels totally
- If you see blood in your stools
What you should and should not do when constipated during pregnancy..
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day; start off your morning with warm water if you don't find it nauseating.
- Drink fruit juices, especially prune juice. Eat dried fruits, prunes, figs and apricots in particular
- Abdominal massage is not advisable and a definite no-no during pregnancy
- Avoid empty calorie foods such as jelly, cakes, ice-cream; minimize caffeine and fizzy beverages
- Start your mornings in a relaxed manner preferably with a warm beverage or water whichever you are comfortable with
- Get plenty of exercises; walking and swimming are safe and appropriate during pregnancy unless advised otherwise by your doctor
- Get enough fiber from food especially fruits and vegetables, cereals (oats and bran. Bran and water go hand in hand; ensure you drink sufficient water else the bran will aggravate your constipation. Remember the more fiber you ingest the more fluids you will need
- Eat fresh and lightly cooked foods; vegetables and fruits, high fiber cereals. Avoid processed and pre-cooked, instant meals as much as possible
- Don't take any laxatives without your doctor's okay; some laxatives may cause painful contractions of the bowel that may have repercussions on the uterus