CONSTIPATION DURING PREGNANCY
If you're pregnant and staying longer at the loo, we've outlined the reasons and some tips to help you deal with constipation during pregnancy.
When will I start constipating during pregnancy?
Well, as soon as your progesterone levels rise, you will most likely become constipated. Usually, this will be around the second or third month of your pregnancy, though it will worsen as your pregnancy advances.
Why do I constipate?
Hormones are the cause of constipation during pregnancy. In this case, the hormone is progesterone. Progesterone's task is to relax the muscles in the digestive tract, which slows down digestion. The good news is that your body has enough time to absorb the nutrients your baby needs. However, the bad news is that you have a buildup of waste, plus less bowel space (taken up by your expanding uterus) means your bowel movements will not be hassle-free.
What can I do about it?
A lot! And the earlier the better before you develop hemorrhoids, a side-effect of constipation. Here are some constipation-busters:
Swap up for a fibre-rich diet
You must eat 25 to 35 grams of fibre per day to help your body remove waste. So incorporate some fibre-rich foods like whole grains cereals, fresh fruits, raw or lightly cooked veggies, dried fruits and legumes into your diet. Also, add some bran to your diet. But check with your doctor first how much fibre you can add up. Fibre foods are good but can eliminate essential nutrients from your body before they are absorbed. Plus, they can make you fart!
Don't eat refined food
Refined foods like white rice, white bread, refined cereals, and pasta can clog up things, so stay away from them.
Taking in 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of any form of fluids - water, veggie juice, fruit juice, or broth can help you go. Moreover, warm fluids like warm water and lemon or prune juice can help get your peristalsis (contractions in the intestines that make you poo) going.
Eat in small portions
Avoid going overboard at mealtimes. Eating larger meals will only pile up things in your digestive tract and slow your bowel movements. It's better to eat six small-portioned meals than three square meals daily.
Use the loo when you feel like it
When you get the urge to go, make sure you do. Resisting the urge can weaken your bowel muscles which can make you constipated.
Some light to moderate physical activity per day can improve your peristalsis and get things moving down your bowel. But don't sweat it - all you need is at least 10 minutes of exercise. We suggest a walk or any exercise approved by your doctor. Plus, do some Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (they sure need them after all the straining from visiting the loo!).
Up your probiotics
Probiotics like yogurt are active culture powerhouses. Active cultures get the bacteria in your intestines to work (break down food) better, which can speed up things in your digestive tract. If you are not a fan of yogurt, your doctor can recommend a probiotic supplement you can ingest in capsule, chewable or powder form.
Powdered probiotic supplements can be blended into smoothies.
Watch your meds and supplements
Unfortunately for you, most of the drugs prescribed during pregnancy, that is, prenatal vitamins, antacids and iron supplements, tend to worsen your constipation. See your doctor to have the dosage prescribed reduced or recommend alternatives you can take until your condition eases up.
Don't do laxatives
Temporary relief laxatives can be a lifesaver, but they can also make constipation go from bad to worse. Besides, some are not pregnancy-safe, so check with your doctor first. Your doctor can, however, prescribe magnesium supplements to help with your constipation. Magnesium supplements relax the muscles in your bowels and act as a sedative.
Go see your doctor
The last resort will be to see your doctor if home remedies are not working. Your doctor may prescribe OTC meds like docusate.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Disclaimer: The information shared by this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician concerning anything you have read here.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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