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Constipation in Second Trimester
by Nancy Sullivan, CNM, MS, FACNM

Nancy SullivanQ. I know constipation is a side effect of pregnancy but no one seems to offer any real advice for dealing with it. I've read that I should drink lots of water and eat small meals and other, similar advice. Unfortunately, none of it helps. I know I'm not supposed to take laxatives, but I read that Metamucil and other "fiber supplements" are okay. So I've been taking a daily spoonful for about two months (I'm 24 weeks pregnant), which has helped a lot. However, a friend just told me she thinks that's dangerous. Help!

A. Metamucil is fine, just not very delicious. Here are some things to try:

  • prunes, prune juice, dried figs, dates, apricots
  • whole grains, oatmeal, oat bran (you can sprinkle this in just about anything)
  • lots of water

Here are some things to avoid:

  • cheese, rice, bananas (the only fruit that is constipating; all the others are the opposite)
  • You are right; avoid laxatives. Anything that is a "bulk former" or a "stool softener" is OK to try.
  • If you are taking an iron supplement and don't absolutely need it, stop taking it. It makes constipation worse. If you do need it, try Floradix, a herbal iron supplement that isn't constipating. You can find it in some natural food stores or buy it from my website.

Hope this is helpful!

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