Signs of Pregnancy: Constipation

By Maria Slater

While constipation itself is not a sign of pregnancy, many pregnant women suffer with it at some point. Pregnancy hormones slow digestion, which can lead to constipation.

Third Trimester

The last few weeks of pregnancy are often when constipation is most prevalent. At this stage, the uterus is very large and heavy and it presses down on the bowel, adding to the problem of a slow metabolism.

Fluids

Drink plenty of fluids during the day to combat constipation in pregnancy. Take in eight glasses of water daily. Fruit juice, especially prune juice, may help in moderation.

Food

Enjoy high fiber foods such as fruit and vegetables, cereals, beans and whole-grain bread to encourage movement through the bowel and a softer bowel movement. Do not use fiber supplements when pregnant without consulting a doctor or obstetrician.

Exercise

Move as much as possible every day to improve sluggish digestion. This may be difficult toward the end of pregnancy, but a walk around the block may be all it takes. Daily exercise can help prevent or treat constipation.

Stool Softeners and Laxatives

Stool softeners moisten the stool and help it pass through the bowel with greater ease and less pain. Do not take a stool softener or laxative without checking with a doctor or obstetrician.

Iron

Iron supplements, taken as part of a vitamin and mineral supplement regime, may cause constipation. Iron is an important nutrient in pregnancy, but taking too much can cause problems with bowel movements.

About the Author

Maria Slater is a trained midwife who has worked in prenatal, labor and delivery and postpartum wards in hospitals in Europe and the Middle East. She is also a freelance web content provider who writes on health, weight loss, parenting, travel, homemaking and pregnancy topics.