Signs of Pregnancy: Constipation

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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.

References

  • Photo Credit jdurham, http://mrg.bz/FYIhTr
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