or the inability to have a bowel movement, can commonly occur during
pregnancy. A major contributor to constipation during pregnancy
is an increase in hormones that decrease bowel motility. As food
residue moves more slowly through the intestines, this allows for
more nutrients to be absorbed for the developing fetus. It also
means, however, that more fluid will be absorbed from the food residue
making the resulting stool dry and hard to pass. Other factors that
influence constipation during pregnancy include changes in eating
habits, abdominal pressure and displacement of the intestines due
to the growing fetus, inactivity, and dehydration.
can cause nausea and affect your ability to eat. Nutritional problems
can certainly result. Anytime you are unable to eat well, nutrient
deficiencies and dehydration can occur. These conditions can hinder
normal fetal development and growth.
Below are some
tips to help reduce your tendency to become constipated with diet.
Medical treatment may also be necessary. It is important to always
report constipation that lasts more than 2-3 days to your physician.
Laxative use is not recommended during pregnancy and should always
be supervised by your physician.
Dietary Treatment for Constipation
- Increase insoluble fiber
food sources such as fresh vegetables, whole grains,
dried beans and peas, and the skins of fruits. Use wheat
bran cereals such as raisin bran, bran flakes or bran buds.
plenty of liquids, at least 8 cups of fluid each day.
Apple juice or prune juice may also be helpful.
- Exercise a little each day, physical activity helps
keep the gastrointestinal tract moving.
- Add 2
tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your diet each
day. Ideas include adding wheat bran to cereals, baked products,
casseroles, or soups.