Constipation frequently occurs in pregnancy and is believed to stem from the influence of hormonal fluctuations on the digestive system. While it may cause discomfort, it is generally considered non-harmful to both the expectant mother and the baby. To alleviate the issue of constipation, it is recommended for pregnant women to maintain a diet rich in fiber and stay well-hydrated in the early stages of pregnancy. Engaging in regular exercise can also contribute to relief. In cases where these lifestyle adjustments prove ineffective, healthcare providers may prescribe certain types of laxatives. As an example, Dulcolax is an over-the-counter medication deemed safe for use during pregnancy.
What is pregnancy constipation?
Expecting a baby is a thrilling period marked by profound transformations. Starting from the moment of conception until childbirth, your body embarks on a journey of numerous changes, some of which bring joy while others may be less pleasant. The ebb and flow of hormonal levels play a pivotal role in orchestrating the array of emotional and physical changes that accompany pregnancy. These changes may manifest as backaches, bouts of nausea, moments of exhaustion, instances of heartburn, and occasional episodes of constipation.
Constipation is a common occurrence affecting nearly half of expectant mothers, stemming from both physiological and anatomical transformations in the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, alterations in dietary habits, such as omitting familiar foods or consuming less than usual, can play a role in exacerbating constipation during pregnancy. Adding to the complexity, the expanding presence of the growing fetus may contribute to a deceleration in bowel movement.
How can pregnancy affect your digestive system?
Experiencing constipation in pregnancy may lead to abdominal discomfort or pain, characterized by the passage of hard, challenging, and infrequent bowel movements. These typical indicators signal the presence of constipation during the gestational period. Here are various factors influencing this condition:
Expectant mothers experience an elevated production of hormones, notably relaxin and progesterone, during pregnancy. These hormones play a crucial role in relaxing the joints and ligaments in the pelvic region to accommodate the expanding baby. Simultaneously, they exert a relaxing effect on the muscles of the digestive system, contributing to a deceleration in bowel movements. The hormone aldosterone further complicates matters by promoting increased absorption of liquids and electrolytes in the colon, resulting in firmer stools. Collectively, these hormonal adjustments create challenges in finding relief from the associated discomforts.
Varied dietary preferences during pregnancy can contribute to constipation. Whether you find yourself consuming larger quantities of specific foods or developing aversions to others, abrupt shifts in eating habits can lead to occasional bouts of constipation.
Several physiological shifts occur in the body during pregnancy, giving rise to various symptoms such as backaches, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, hemorrhoids, frequent urination, fatigue, heightened appetite, increased vaginal discharge, and tender breasts. Constipation is another common occurrence, exacerbated as the pregnancy progresses towards its conclusion when the expanding uterus exerts additional pressure on the intestines. This added pressure contributes to the challenges of maintaining regular bowel movements.
Symptoms of constipation during pregnancy
Ensuring a secure and tranquil pregnancy involves addressing any discomfort that may arise, including the prevalence of constipation, which ranks as the second most common gastrointestinal complaint during pregnancy, following closely behind nausea. The prominence of constipation becomes particularly noticeable in the third trimester, significantly affecting daily life and causing considerable discomfort.
Having fewer than three poops a week is a general idea based on usual information. If you’re unsure if you have constipation, it’s good to talk to your doctor for advice.
Other signs of constipation can include:
- Poops that are dry and hard or need a lot of effort.
- Feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and more gassy.
- You think you can’t completely empty your bowels.
Some tips to help ease constipation
To begin feeling better, start by checking your lifestyle. Take a look at your habits and see if anything you do every day might be causing your constipation. Try making small changes and see how your body responds.
Get some exercise
Simply taking a walk can be helpful. Moving your body helps your intestines work better and lowers the chance of other not-so-nice things happening, like swelling or hemorrhoids. Swimming is good too. Doing some moderate exercise like this can help avoid or lessen constipation by getting your bowels moving. Aim for three times a week, around 20–30 minutes each time.
Improve your diet
Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber is a smart way to help your body handle the hormonal changes and adjustments happening during pregnancy. A healthy diet can also provide the iron, calcium, and vitamins your body needs, possibly reducing the need for iron supplements that might lead to constipation. Have a chat with your doctor or midwife about checking your iron levels, and they can give you advice on managing your iron intake during pregnancy.
Feeling stressed can sometimes lead to constipation during pregnancy. Take some time for yourself to relax and do things that make you feel calmer and better. If your stress doesn’t go away or if you’re dealing with anxiety or feeling really down, talk to your doctor. They can offer support and help you feel better.
Constipation can lead to bothersome issues and problems. These may include hemorrhoids (also called piles), small tears in the skin around your anus (known as an anal fissure), difficulty passing stool, and, in extreme cases, the intestine pushing out from your anus after straining too much for too long. If you’re constipated, it’s crucial to address it so you can feel comfortable again.
Taking Dulcolax During Pregnancy
Doctos advise pregnant women to take Dulcolax, a generally safe drug for pregnancy. Bisacodyl (Dulcolax®) helps your bowel work better and adds more water to your stools. No studies have checked if using bisacodyl during pregnancy causes issues for the baby inside, but so far, no problems have been reported. It’s why many women opt to take Dulcolax while pregnant to avoid the unpleasantness of constipation.
Take proactive steps to handle constipation with the help of Dulcolax
If you’re experiencing constipation during pregnancy, take proactive steps to ease discomfort and promote digestive health. Maintain a fiber-rich diet, stay hydrated, and engage in regular exercise. Address dietary changes and be mindful of hormonal influences on your digestive system. If lifestyle adjustments are insufficient, consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend safe over-the-counter options like Dulcolax, which can aid bowel movements without known adverse effects on the baby. Prioritize your well-being during this transformative journey and seek professional guidance for a healthy and comfortable pregnancy.