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Constipation during pregnancy

Constipation is one of the most annoying problems of a pregnant woman. It causes pain and discomfort, spoils appetite and mood, but traditional methods of treatment during pregnancy can threaten the health of both mother and baby. How to win, and even better to prevent this misfortune, read our article.

During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes many changes in order to successfully endure and give birth to a child. But these changes often cause unpleasant and painful symptoms, one of which is often constipation.

Constipation during pregnancy not only causes discomfort for a woman, but also poses a threat to her and the baby. Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms and causes of bowel problems in order to identify them in time, the risks they entail, and, of course, methods of treatment and prevention that are safe for women during pregnancy. This is what will be discussed in our article.

Symptoms of constipation in pregnancy

With constipation, a person experiences difficulty in the process of emptying the intestines. They may be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  1. hard or lumpy stools;
  2. decrease in the frequency and number of bowel movements;
  3. feeling of excessive fullness of the intestine;
  4. feeling of incomplete emptying after going to the toilet;
  5. discomfort and pain in the abdomen;
  6. pain in the anus;
  7. false urge to defecate;
  8. nausea;
  9. decreased activity and apathy;
  10. loss of appetite.

Please note that some of the symptoms may not appear, but if you notice at least a few of the phenomena presented above, this is already an alarm signal.

It is also worth noting that the loss of appetite is a very dangerous symptom for pregnant women. Due to poor health, nausea and pain in the abdomen, women, of course, often refuse food, which is definitely not possible. Expectant mothers should eat well during pregnancy so as not to deprive the baby of nutrients.

Causes of constipation during pregnancy

There are two main causes of constipation as early as the 1st trimester of pregnancy. This is a hormonal shift and low physical activity.

In pregnant women, the level of the sex hormone progesterone increases, and the production of the hormone of the small intestine, motilin, which causes movements of the smooth muscles of the intestine, on the contrary, decreases. Such hormonal changes disrupt the natural peristalsis of the intestine, that is, the frequency of its contractions that occur during emptying.

This is necessary so that food passes through the intestines longer, and the nutrients needed by mom and baby are better absorbed. However, this greatly increases the risk of constipation.

In the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy, the uterus enlarges, which can put pressure on neighboring organs, including the intestines, and make it difficult for food to pass through it. This is another reason for constipation.

The nutrition of a pregnant woman, of course, affects the functioning of the intestines. If you do not follow a special diet and do not drink enough fluids, the risk of problems with bowel movements will increase. Some diseases of the anal region, such as hemorrhoids or an anal fissure, can also cause constipation.

Finally, the causes of constipation can also be psychological in nature. Stress, worries and fears that a woman experiences during pregnancy can have various negative consequences for her body, including disrupting the digestive tract and intestines.

Why is constipation dangerous during pregnancy?

Experiencing difficulty with bowel movements, many people underestimate the seriousness of this problem and are unaware of the possible dangerous consequences in case of complications. Pregnancy only increases the risk.

Consider what kind of diseases and threats can provoke constipation.

  1. Intoxication (if harmful substances are not removed from the body in time, they are absorbed into the blood and poison us).
  2. Deterioration of the general condition, nausea, migraine.
  3. Inflammatory processes in the digestive organs.
  4. Diseases of the anal area (hemorrhoids, anal fissure).
  5. Deterioration of the skin condition: peeling, loss of elasticity.
  6. Decreased immunity.
  7. Increased tone of the uterus.
  8. Risk of preterm birth and miscarriage.

Therefore, it is important not to endure and not wait for the discomfort to pass by itself, but to begin treatment as soon as the first symptoms appear. During pregnancy, constipation poses a risk not only to the health of the mother, but also to the development of the fetus.

How to deal with constipation...

One of the main dangers of constipation during pregnancy is that traditional means of dealing with constipation often pose a threat to women who are expecting a child. Enemas and many laxatives are prohibited for them during this period.

Only a doctor can choose a safe drug, so you should not self-medicate. However, the fight against constipation should be started with non-drug methods, and only if they are ineffective, start choosing a pharmacological agent.

…through diet

We have already mentioned that during pregnancy a woman should pay attention to her diet. A well-chosen diet can relieve constipation or at least relieve its symptoms.

First, with constipation during pregnancy, you need to eat small portions 5-6 times a day. Nutrition should be balanced: every meal should contain grains, fruits and vegetables.

Secondly, you need to consume enough liquid. Drink at least 1.5-2 liters of non-carbonated water, freshly squeezed juices with pulp and fermented milk products per day. If juices are contraindicated for you, you can drink warm water with lemon and honey.

With constipation during pregnancy, we do not recommend drinking strong black tea and coffee. The use of these diuretic drinks reduces the required level of fluid in the body. Alternatively, you can choose fruit tea.

Thirdly, add fiber foods to your diet: raw vegetables, fruits, black bread and bran bread, dried fruits. In the fight against constipation during pregnancy, buckwheat and oatmeal, as well as non-fat meat, will also help you.

Constipation during pregnancy

Fourth, exclude from the diet or limit the use of foods with fixing properties: rice, boiled carrots, bananas, pumpkins. Do not eat a lot of beans, cabbage, spinach, sorrel, and also give up sweets. They promote fermentation, which causes bloating in the abdomen. It will only add unnecessary discomfort to the existing symptoms of constipation.

We also advise you not to abuse fried, salty, spicy, as well as flour. Try not to eat before bed. Protein-rich foods are digested slowly, so it's best to eat them in the morning.

If you suffer from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, consult your doctor before making a diet.

... with the help of folk remedies

Before using any folk recipe, we also advise you to consult with a specialist in order to exclude possible negative reactions of the body to certain products.

The safest and most versatile folk remedy for constipation for pregnant women is a glass of warm water with honey. In addition, we can offer a few more recipes:

  • a decoction of oatmeal with chopped beets and prunes;
  • 100 g raisins and dried apricots mixed with honey (take 2 teaspoons at bedtime);
  • herbal sedatives for cramps that may accompany constipation during pregnancy.

…with the help of drugs

As mentioned above, most laxatives are dangerous for pregnant women. The fact is that they can increase the tone of the uterus, which will negatively affect the development of the fetus, and in the worst case, it can lead to termination of pregnancy.

To avoid this outcome, do not self-medicate. In case of constipation, consult a doctor and follow his recommendations. If a change in diet does not bring the desired effect or is not enough, the specialist will prescribe the safest drugs for constipation during pregnancy.

These include:

  • Duphalac syrup - it has a delicate effect on the intestines and gently removes feces from the body;
  • Microlax is a gentle remedy for constipation with a very fast effect;
  • glycerin suppositories are a safe remedy that does not provoke an increase in the tone of the uterus.

Once again, we want to draw your attention to the fact that even the above drugs can be taken only after consulting with your doctor.

The choice of remedy for constipation also depends on the duration of pregnancy. 1st trimester is the most dangerous period, in which there is often an increased tone of the uterus. At this time, only the most gentle means can be used.

It is much easier to determine what to do for constipation during pregnancy in the 2nd trimester. During this period, the complex treatment already described is applied: a diet in combination with drugs chosen by the doctor (in case of ineffectiveness of changing the diet). In the 3rd trimester, the risk of edema is high, so doctors try not to prescribe drugs that retain fluid in the body.

Prevention of constipation

Any problem is easier to prevent than to deal with its consequences, therefore, even at the stage of pregnancy planning, it is better to think about measures to prevent constipation.

First of all, you should follow a diet: eat foods rich in fiber, eat a balanced diet and make sure that vegetables and fruits are always present in the diet. Avoid eating hard-to-digest foods before bed.

You also need to watch your drinking regimen. During pregnancy, be sure to drink at least one and a half liters of liquid: water, fresh juices and dairy products.

Moderate physical activity, walks in the fresh air will help prevent constipation. But you shouldn't stress too much. This can only have a negative effect on your body. In order not to harm yourself or your child, it is better to consult a specialist who will draw up an exercise program for you in accordance with the characteristics of your body.

Finally, do not forget about positive emotions. Stress, worries, fears that almost every pregnant woman experiences can cause not only constipation, but also a number of other diseases, so during pregnancy it is better to protect yourself from any negative emotions as much as possible.