Surveys tell us that nearly half of all pregnant women report being constipated at some point during their pregnancy. In fact, constipation is one of the most common pregnancy complaints out there. While constipation can affect anyone, pregnant women are at particular risk for several reasons.
- Increased hormone levels relax the intestines, making the digestive tract less active.
- The growing uterus puts pressure on the rectum, making it difficult to pass stool.
- An inability to get one’s recommended fluids or fiber needs met due to nausea can interfere with digestion.
Why Does It Matter?
Pregnancy-related constipation can be uncomfortable. It can leave you feeling more bloated than usual or even give you stomach pains. Relieving your constipation can take time, leading to frustration and more discomfort.
Constipation can also lead to hemorrhoids. This is due to the increased strain and pressure in the rectum caused by hard stools. Hemorrhoids can itch, burn, or even bleed. This makes the discomfort of constipation even worse, decreasing the quality of life and the enjoyment of a time in life that should be happy and exciting.
What Can I Do to Help?
Many doctors prescribe laxatives for pregnant women. However, many women today prefer natural remedies for constipation. If you are looking for natural constipation relief remedies, we’ve compiled a few tips to help.
- Stay hydrated
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. At least 8 glasses of water or another hydrating beverage is recommended, but 10 glasses are even better. Many women also recommend drinking a warm beverage first thing in the morning.
- Stay active
- Walking, swimming or other gentle exercises can help keep your digestive tract moving. Activity can move things along, relieving constipation without medication. An added bonus is better circulation and greater fitness.
- Change vitamins
- Talk to your doctor about changing prenatal vitamins. It might be that your vitamin has a high level of iron, which can make constipation worse. However, it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice, as if you are low on iron you may need the supplement.
- Try eating more fiber
- Foods high in fiber soften stool and kick the digestive tract into gear. Fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains are all great sources of high fiber. Lemons, oranges, and prunes are good choices.
- Go when the urge hits
- It’s important to use the restroom as soon as the urge comes. Waiting can allow the urge to pass, further compacting an already constipated digestive tract.
Keeping your body working at optimal health levels during pregnancy can not only help you feel better, but it can help ensure the health of your baby.
Relieving constipation naturally is a great option for the mother who wants to create the healthiest environment possible for her unborn child.