Constipation during pregnancy? What can you do to help?

What causes constipation during pregnancy?

Constipation during pregnancy is caused by a number of factors:

  • Progesterone causes the muscles of your bowels to relax so that food takes longer to move through the digestive tract.
  • Many women take iron supplements during pregnancy which can contribute to constipation.
  • Feeling nauseous can change the way you eat. You may crave certain types of food (hello carbs) and be less inclined to eat as many fruit and vegetables which can lead to constipation.
  • Not enough water. If you’re feeling sick, and water makes it worse, try sipping on ice-cold water or munching on ice chips throughout the day.
constipation during pregnancy

What helps pregnancy constipation?

Eat good food

The more raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables you can consume, the better. They’ll help digestion and they’re also packed with nutrients so you can’t really go wrong. Dried fruits like dates and prunes can also help with digestion.

Where possible, try to avoid processed foods like bread, cakes and biscuits, as they often make constipation worse.

Move often

I know when you become increasingly uncomfortable in your body it can seem like it’s all too much to bother with regular movement, but there are so many reasons why you should keep moving throughout your pregnancy.

Movement helps to stimulate your bowels and will also help you to keep fit in preparation for birth. Pregnancy yoga is great (find a class specifically for pregnancy constipation below) but even just walking can help too. It doesn’t have to a complicated exercise routine, just make an effort to move your body daily.

Water, water, water

Often just increasing your water intake will alleviate constipation on its own. Water, in combination with the fibre from the extra fruits and vegetables will in most cases help to keep your digestion working well throughout your whole pregnancy.

Supplements

If you’re tried all of the above and nothing else is helping you might try taking a supplement to get things moving. (Always, always check with your naturopath or doctor before taking something during pregnancy).

I always prefer to try the natural option for supplements first. For example psyllium husk (the main ingredient in Metamucil) taken with enough water will help with constipation. Taking psyllium on its own with water means you can avoid the artificial additives that come along with Metamucil.

I hope you find these tips help. Worst case, remember… this too shall pass (pun intended 😉

If you enjoyed this pregnancy yoga class and would like to practice more classes with me, join us in the Online Yoga Circle; my membership community for yoga for pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

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