Pregnancy Articles

Constipation and Pregnancy

Pregnancy Symptoms and Discomforts

During pregnancy your entire digestive system slows down. The good news is that food stays in your intestines for a longer time and more nutrients are absorbed. The bad news is that the feces that stays around too long may become hard, dry, and difficult to eliminate. You may have irregular bowel movements, constipation, and hemorrhoids.

To help alleviate this condition you must consume more fiber and fluids. Fiber acts as a sponge and absorbs water. Increasing fiber in the diet adds bulk to the stool, therefore making the stool softer and easier to eliminate from the body. The average American diet contains approximately 10-15 grams of fiber each day, but the recommended amount is 25-35 grams. Try to gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet to 28 grams each day.

If you are experiencing problems with constipation, try the following tips.

Fiber Tips
  • Eat more raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Use whole grain products such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, wheat germ, bran cereal, whole grain muffins, and popcorn.
  • Consume more beans, peas, and lentils.
  • If there is a food that has a laxative effect on your body, such as prunes or prune juice, include it often in your diet.
Fluid Tips
  • Drink 8-12 cups of liquid every day. Water is best, but you can also drink milk, juice, cocoa, and soups.
  • Drink a glass of warm water in the morning. Try water with lemon.
Other Tips
  • Eat meals at regular times.
  • Exercise regularly with your healthcare provider's approval.
  • When you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, immediately go and take care of your bathroom business.
  • Check with you healthcare provider before taking any laxatives or medications.
  • Try not to strain when you have a bowel movement. Straining can lead to hemorrhoids.
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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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