Constipation is the bane of every pregnant woman’s life and she suffers from it at some stage or the other. The primary reason is that as the baby grows in the uterus, he usurps more and more space in the mother’s abdomen. Many organs get slightly displaced while others experience pressure. The small intestine relaxes to accommodate the growing foetus and has to bear some pressure as well. Since the intestine is the largest organ in the digestive tract, digestion is compromised and constipation is the result.
Doctors give calcium and iron supplements during pregnancy and they also cause constipation. Some women rest a lot under influence of wrong advice and take no exercise. Others may eat a lot of refined food like sugar and white rice and not take enough fluid. All these factors cause constipation. Prevention is better than cure so certain precautions must be taken before trouble starts.
- Do not delay a visit to the toilet when the urge arises. The intestines will absorb more water from the faecal matter the longer you delay. Passing dry stool will cause problems.
- Take mild exercise like a walk. Rest in between as often as necessary. This may be split into several sessions. Do not over do it and tire yourself.
- Eat plenty of fibre rich food like fruit and salads. Give preference to whole legumes, bran enriched flour and oat meal. Eat small meals rather than large ones for proper digestion. Chew your food properly so that it is broken down and digestive enzymes get thoroughly mixed with it. Food like potatoes and white bread should be eaten in moderation as they have a binding effect.
- Plenty of fluid should be taken. This includes water, milk, juice tea and other beverages. They should be non alcoholic and caffeine free. Keep a bottle of water by your side and take sips from it at intervals. This will ensure that your required quota of fluids for the day is achieved.
- In the morning take hot water or tea to facilitate the bowel movement, which relieves constipation in pregnancy a lot.
Some natural and mild laxatives like prune juice can be taken. Be very cautious about any other laxative even if it is herbal. They may not be safe for a pregnant woman. Never take any over the counter laxative. Their use can bring about an onset of labour causing complications. Do visit the doctor before the constipation becomes severe as it is easier to treat a milder case.
It is best to drink about eight glasses of water daily to cleanse the system. Along with this eat the right type of food and you will be able to avoid this problem.