One of the more unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects which can occur during pregnancy is constipation. Around 40 per cent of pregnant women will experience notable constipation at some point during their pregnancy. There are a number of factors which can connect pregnancy and constipation such as the iron tablets which some women take to combat anaemia, which can cause constipation; the growing uterus, which can put pressure on the rectum or the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which may also slow down the progression of food through the digestive tracts.
Luckily, pregnancy and constipation do not always go hand in hand. However, if you do happen to find yourself suffering from this uncomfortable problem, there are ways to treat it. If you are taking iron tablets to prevent anaemia during pregnancy and constipation is one of the side effects which you are suffering from, switching to a different type of iron supplement may be one way to help to stop your problem. If you think that your constipation may be down to the iron tablets which you are taking then you should discuss the possibility of alternatives with your midwife or doctor. Altering your diet is another great way to reduce your risk of constipation.
Many women are forced to alter their diets slightly due to their pregnancy and constipation may be an unfortunate side effect. Just because you have to cut out certain foods and drinks which you may be used to, doesn’t mean that you cannot change your diet again to introduce healthy foods which reduce the likelihood of constipation. Diets which include high-fiber foods can help to relieve constipation, so try eating foods like wholegrain cereal and wholemeal bread. Eat and drink plenty of fruit and vegetables in solid or juice form. It is important to keep your fluids up. If you are not used to eating a diet which is high in fiber, it may be best to make this change gradually or you could end up with wind and bloating. Gentle exercise is another way to relieve constipation during pregnancy. Walking, swimming, yoga or gentle exercise on a stationary exercise bicycle can all help to relieve the symptoms of constipation. As well as helping with pregnancy and constipation, gentle exercise will also help to maintain your fitness and the strength of your core muscles during pregnancy. Although constipation during pregnancy is rarely serious, if the problem persists, it is worth mentioning it to your doctor to see if they have any hints or tips. It is possible that more serious cases of constipation can lead to hemorrhoids (piles), and it may be best to consult with your doctor if this is the case for you.
Do not use over-the-counter laxatives without consulting with a medical professional first, as some medicines are not suitable for use by pregnant women. If you do buy laxatives, always read the label before taking anything. Although pregnancy and constipation are uncomfortable bedfellows, the symptoms will usually ease shortly after you have had your baby.