If you are experiencing the abdominal pain and discomfort that comes with pregnancy constipation, you’re not alone. This common pregnancy affliction is a result of pregnancy hormones relaxing the intestinal muscles, your expanding middle putting extra pressure on the intestines and possibly some lifestyle choices. Make a few minor changes in your daily life to help avoid this unpleasant situation.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. According to the American Pregnancy Association, you should drink 10 to 12 cups of hydrating fluids each day. If the weather is hot and humid or you have been sweating, consume more water. The water aids your digestion and keeps wastes moving through your system. Fill a water bottle and carry it with you, taking sips when you get thirsty.
Incorporate plenty of fiber into your diet. Choose foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes to keep food moving through your system. Limit the amount of binding foods that you consume, as these have the opposite effect. Bananas, rice and applesauce are considered low-fiber, binding foods and these will make your stools firmer and harder to pass.
Get some exercise. Not only will this help you feel better and raise your energy levels during pregnancy, it also helps stimulate your digestion and helps prevent constipation. Shoot for 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week. Swimming, walking and prenatal yoga are all safe choices during pregnancy. (ref 1)
Talk to your health care provider about the prenatal vitamins you are taking. Some prenatal vitamins contain iron and iron supplements can have the unpleasant side effect of constipation. Switching to a different prenatal vitamin or eliminating iron-containing vitamins altogether can help alleviate this issue.
Consult your health care provider about the use of fiber supplements and/or stool softeners. This can temporarily resolve the issue.
Don't take laxatives while pregnant, unless approved by your health care provider. These can stimulate uterine contractions and make you dehydrated.