From the moment that you conceive your body kicks into overdrive increase the pregnancy hormone progesterone. Progesterone plays an important role during the first trimester to keep the uterus relaxed and helps prevent your immune system from attacking the foreign DNA (your growing fetus). The hormone also relaxes other smooth muscles, including your digestive system. The slow movement in the digestive system causes food to move more slowly and many moms will complain about constipation during pregnancy.
Disclosure: These tips worked during my three pregnancies. What worked for me, may or may not work for you. Please talk to your doctor if you have ongoing constipation during pregnancy.
Constipation during pregnancy is one of those not so fun ailments that can cause stomach bloating, stomach pains, hard stool, straining to have a bowel movement, needing help to pass stool, and painful bowel movements. Painful bowel movements can cause anal fissures and hemorrhoids which are another can of worms that you don’t want to have to deal with during your pregnancy.
Best Natural Ways to Deal with Constipation During Pregnancy
Drink Plenty of Water
Water helps keep your system working properly and helps flush toxins out of your body. If you aren’t drinking enough water to replace lost fluids, it is possible that dehydration is contributing to constipation symptoms during pregnancy. When your body is dehydrated, your body naturally pulls water from the colon. The longer the stool remains in the digestive tract your body will continue to draw any moisture out of the stool until nothing is left.
At this point, you will likely notice that your stool is dry and hard by the time it exits the anus. It is important to stay hydrated so that your body doesn’t continue to pull water from your stools. Experts recommend that you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. If you are having trouble drinking the recommended amount, try slowly increasing your intake or try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or orange for added flavor.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Constipation during pregnancy can easily be resolved naturally by adding more fiber to your diet. Just add fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, chia seeds, and flaxseed to your diet. Fiber adds more bulk to your diet. Bulk helps move food through the digestive tract. Simply add two or three additional servings of foods that contain fiber to your diet.
Here are a few fruits and vegetables to add to your diet if you are struggling with constipation while pregnant.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brussel Sprouts
During pregnancy, obstetricians often tell expecting mothers to limit their daily caffeine intake. But many pregnant moms swear that drinking a cup coffee or two gets their bowels moving. Caffeine is a natural stimulant and in limited quantities, it isn’t harmful to your fetus or baby. This natural stimulant can help naturally relieve constipation during pregnancy.
Exercise is one of the best natural cures for constipation while pregnant. Don’t worry you don’t have to spend hours exercising or doing intense exercises. Walking for 15 minutes a day can make a difference, even for moms who led a sedentary life prior to pregnancy. Walking or other gentle exercises help increase the blood flow to your organs including your digestive tract. The extra blood flow helps stimulate the bowels.
Drink Prune Juice or Eat Prunes
Prunes are very effective at treating constipation symptoms while pregnant. It is the number one treatment that health care professionals recommended to give you constipation relief. People have been eating prunes for several decades because it works naturally.
If you notice signs and symptoms of constipation, simply eat around 6 medium-sized prunes a day or drink 4 to 8 ounces of juice in the morning to help stimulate your bowels. Prunes contain sorbitol a natural sweetener that is a natural laxative.
It is better to eat prunes than to drink the juice because eating a serving of prunes contains more dietary fiber. Avoid adding too much fiber including prunes if you feel that you are dehydrated. Eating too much fiber when you are dehydrated it may make you feel worse.
Constipation during pregnancy is one of those ailments that many expectant mothers don’t discuss. Constipation can leave you feeling uncomfortable. Signs and symptoms of pregnancy-related constipation include stomach bloating, stomach pains, hard stool, straining to have a bowel movement, needing help to pass stool, and painful bowel movements.