10 Natural Remedies for Treating Constipation during Pregnancy!
During pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for women to experience constipation, which can lead to difficulty passing stool and even anal tenderness. However, there are several natural remedies that can help alleviate this issue.
If you’re pregnant and struggling with constipation, don’t be ashamed to talk about it. It’s a common problem, and there are things you can do to help.
Constipation occurs when bowel movements are infrequent or difficult to pass. In addition to discomfort, constipation can also cause a decrease in appetite, abdominal bloating, and pain.
To help relieve constipation during pregnancy, consider trying some home remedies, such as increasing your water and fiber intake, getting regular exercise, and practicing relaxation techniques. With a little patience and perseverance, you can find relief from this uncomfortable condition.
Understanding Constipation During Pregnancy
There are several factors that can contribute to constipation during pregnancy. These include a decrease in food and water intake due to nausea in early pregnancy, hormonal changes in the body that can relax digestive muscles, a diet high in refined flour products, prescribed iron supplements, pressure on the intestines from the growing uterus, lack of exercise, and excessive anxiety.
If left untreated, constipation during pregnancy can lead to hemorrhoids or fissures. However, there are several home remedies and lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate constipation and maintain regular bowel movements.
Consider increasing your intake of water and fiber-rich foods, engaging in regular exercise, and practicing relaxation techniques to manage anxiety. By taking these steps, you can reduce the risk of complications and enjoy a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy.
Effective Home Remedies for Constipation During Pregnancy:
Constipation during pregnancy can be uncomfortable, but there are several simple home remedies that can help alleviate the problem. Here are the top 10 remedies to try:
1. Increase Your Fiber Intake:
One of the best ways to combat constipation during pregnancy is to increase your intake of dietary fiber. Fiber adds bulk to stools, making them easier to pass. A 2012 study published in Canadian Family Physician recommends increasing fiber and water intake as the first line of therapy for constipation during pregnancy, along with moderate exercise. Both soluble and insoluble fiber can help. The American Pregnancy Association recommends a daily fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams during pregnancy.
To get more fiber in your diet, try incorporating whole-grain cereals and bread, brown rice, beans, lentils, and fresh fruits and vegetables into your meals.
Simple Ways to Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy
Dealing with constipation during pregnancy can be challenging, but increasing your fluid intake can help. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated and alleviate constipation:
2. Drink More Fluids:
Staying hydrated is crucial for stimulating bowel movements and preventing constipation during pregnancy. Low fluid intake can decrease the mass and frequency of stools. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Perinatal Education emphasizes the importance of water intake during pregnancy and suggests that increased fluid intake can help alleviate constipation.
To ensure adequate hydration, aim to drink 7 to 10 glasses of water per day. In addition to water, you can also enjoy fresh vegetable and fruit juices throughout the day. However, it’s important not to drink too much fluid at once. Instead, spread out your fluid intake evenly over the course of the day for optimal results.
Easy Exercises to Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy:
Physical activity can be a great way to ease constipation during pregnancy. Here are some tips to help you get moving:
3. Stay Active:
Pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. Light exercise can actually aid digestion and relieve constipation symptoms by helping food move faster through the large intestine and contracting bowel muscles.
Walking is one of the best exercises for pregnant women. Try to walk for 20 to 30 minutes a day, especially after meals, to help with bowel movements.
Swimming, stationary cycling, and yoga can also stimulate bowel movements and improve digestion. If you’re new to exercise, consult your doctor about which exercises are safe for you and your baby.
4. Try Greek Yogurt:
Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotic bacteria that can help treat constipation during pregnancy. The acidophilus bacteria in Greek yogurt can stimulate your digestive tract and make bowel movements easier. These beneficial bacteria also improve nutrient absorption, which is especially important during pregnancy.
To ease constipation, you can consume 2 to 3 cups of plain Greek yogurt per day. You can also add fresh fruits or nuts to it, or even make a smoothie with the yogurt.
However, if you plan to take a probiotic supplement, it’s important to consult your doctor first.
5. Try Lemon Water:
Drinking lemon water is a popular remedy for constipation, as it can help increase the production of bile in the body. Bile stimulates contractions of the bowel muscles, promoting regular bowel movements. Moreover, lemon is rich in antioxidants and high in vitamin C, which is beneficial for both you and your growing baby during pregnancy.
To make lemon water, squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a glass of lukewarm water, and add a small amount of honey to taste. Drink this mixture twice daily to relieve constipation.
6. Think about taking iron supplements:
To reduce the risk of constipation when taking iron supplements during pregnancy, there are a few things you can do. As iron in prenatal vitamins is one of the top reasons associated with constipation during pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor about reducing or eliminating iron supplements if you are not anemic and following a healthy diet.
If you need to take iron supplements, try taking smaller doses throughout the day instead of taking it all at once. This may help reduce the risk of constipation. You can also ask your doctor about taking a liquid form of the supplement rather than a pill. As always, it’s important to discuss any changes to your supplement regimen with your doctor to manage the dosage effectively.
7. Try Psyllium Husk:
Psyllium husk is a natural laxative that can help improve your digestive health and promote regular bowel movements during pregnancy. It contains insoluble fiber that adds bulk to your stools and makes passing them easier. You can purchase psyllium husk at most drug stores.
Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk into a glass of warm water or milk.
Drink it once daily before going to bed.
Note: Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day when taking psyllium husk to prevent bloating. If you experience any discomfort, stop using it and consult your doctor.
8. Try Using Squat Toilets:
Using squat toilets can be helpful when you are experiencing constipation during pregnancy. Squat toilets can make the elimination process faster, easier, and more complete. In the squat position, the intestines straighten out, making it easier to pass stool. This position can also help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
For pregnant women, squatting can also avoid pressure on the uterus when using the toilet and even prepare the body for a natural delivery. If you have access to a squat toilet, consider using it to alleviate constipation during pregnancy.
9. Take Smaller Meals:
When experiencing constipation during pregnancy, try breaking up your daily food intake into smaller meals. Instead of having two or three large meals, eat five or six small meals throughout the day.
Eating smaller but more frequent meals can allow your stomach to digest food more easily without having to work overtime. This approach also gives your food enough time to transfer smoothly to your intestine and colon.
Eating large meals, on the other hand, can overload your stomach and make it harder for your digestive system to digest the food properly. Moreover, due to hormonal changes, an expanding uterus, and prenatal vitamins, the digestion process may already be slower than usual.
In addition, to helping with constipation, eating smaller meals can also help combat heartburn, bloating, and indigestion.
10. Practice Kegel Exercises:
Regularly doing Kegel or pelvic floor exercises can help keep you regular. Strong pelvic floor muscles are important for bowel and bladder control.
Chronic straining during bowel movements due to constipation can lead to weakened pelvic floor muscles. Strengthening them can prevent accidental bowel leakage. Kegel exercises can also help prepare you for vaginal delivery.
Here’s how to do Kegel exercises:
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles (the ones you use to stop the flow of urine in midstream). Do not move your legs, buttocks or abdominal muscles.
Hold for a count of 5.
Relax the muscles for 5 seconds.
Repeat up to 10 times for 1 complete set.
Aim for doing at least 3 sets a day.
Listen to your body and act promptly whenever you need to use the bathroom.
Avoid taking laxative pills during pregnancy because they might stimulate uterine contractions and cause dehydration. (However, some women may have to take stool softeners.)
Do not take mineral oils to treat constipation, as they reduce nutrient absorption.
Eating dry fruits like dates, raisins, and prunes can help treat pregnancy constipation.
Start any meal with raw fruit, a vegetable, or salad.
Avoid straining and sitting for long periods of time.
Caffeine is not allowed to consume in excess, as it has a diuretic effect that can worsen constipation.