During constipation is also one of them. Did

During pregnancy, you
experience all sorts of common discomforts like nausea, vomiting, fatigue,
pica, back aches and so much more. All these usually occur during the first
trimester.  Apparently, constipation is
also one of them. Did you ever experience the struggle of Defecating while
you’re pregnant? Defecating in lay man’s term is simply, to excrete bowel or
feces. And the condition where there is difficulty of excreting bowel associated
with hardened stools is what we call constipation. Normally, people have a
regular bowel movement daily or every other day. If you don’t, the stools can
become hard and difficult to pass. Signs of constipation include abdominal
discomfort, bloating, nausea or in some cases, hematochezia (blood in the
stool), and even hemorrhoids. Constipation can make you very uncomfortable
especially when you’re already experiencing pregnancy related discomforts.

 

Hormonal changes are also the
culprit of your mixed emotions, mood swings and rapid changes in your body. A
hormone Progesterone increases significantly during the early stage of pregnancy.
One of its main functions is to thicken the lining of the uterus which helps
support the pregnancy. But one of the side effects it has is that it causes the
relaxation of the intestinal muscle, which then results to slower bowel
movements. When the muscles relax, the longer the food remains in the digestive
tract. As your pregnancy progress, the uterus also grows, thus, increases the
pressure on the intestines and on the rectum which are subsequent in bowel
movements. Iron supplements are also prescribed during pregnancy. When you are
pregnant, your body uses iron to make extra blood for your baby. Your body
needs at least twice the supply of iron in oppose to when you were not
expecting. Iron is essential for blood production and is found in the red blood
cells of your blood called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin’s role is to carry oxygen in
your blood from the lungs and to the tissues. So when you have enough Iron,
your baby will also get enough oxygenation. Iron supplementation also helps
prevent anemia, which can cause low birth weight in babies. Iron is hard on the
digestive tract so unfortunately, constipation is one of its common side
effects. Other factors contributing to constipation also include, minimal
physical movements, a low fiber diet and in some studies, even stress and
anxiety can cause constipation.

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As they say, prevention is
always better than cure! Constipation does not necessarily happen during pregnancy
alone. It happens to anyone in all ages. So how do we prevent constipation? Fist
off, drink a lot of water! An average of 8-10 glasses of water per day will not
just help with constipation but it will also keep you hydrated. Reduced amount
of fluid in the body has an effect on bowel function. Why? Not getting enough
water makes the stool dried out. Having sufficient water intake daily helps instigate
bowel movement. Another natural remedy is by altering your diet. Eating green leafy
vegetables, adding high fiber food like beans, broccoli, avocados, raspberries
and oatmeal helps fight back constipation. Small frequent feeding might also
help not just with constipation but with nausea and vomiting as well.

 

Regular exercise during
pregnancy is also a great tool in reducing constipation. Exercise can also help
you prepare for a better labor and delivery as well as maintain a healthy
weight throughout pregnancy. Exercising helps stimulate the movement of the
intestinal tract hence, increase bowel movement and motility.  A simple and most common exercise is walking or
brisk walking. There’s a wide array of exercises available for pregnant women
today. There’s prenatal yoga classes, kegel’s exercises, swimming, cycling and
low impact aerobics. Of course, consult with your OB-GYN before starting any
exercise program.

 

Constipation in pregnancy is
not usually serious. Some can experience it in the early trimester, some in the
second or third. Though in some cases, chronic constipation can occur all
throughout their pregnancy. There are women who resort to over the counter
medicines like stool softeners or laxatives as treatments. You must take note though,
that not all laxatives are safe to take especially during pregnancy. It can
stimulate premature uterine contractions or even dehydration if taken
continuously. If your constipation is bothering you or affects your activities
of daily living, it is important to check with your health practitioner first
and never self medicate! Constipation can also be the result of an underlying
medical condition. If you are experiencing constipation with accompanying
symptoms like, persistent abdominal pain, bloody stools, unexplained weight
loss and abdominal distention, it is best to discuss and have it checked with
your doctor.

 

Everything that you do, what
you intake during pregnancy can have effects on the health and wellness of your
baby. So if you have questions and doubts related to you and your baby’s
health, feel free to consult a health practitioner. Always remember that you and
your baby’s wellness is the utmost priority.