Even during the earliest stages of pregnancy when the fetus isn’t quite a fetus yet and still measures smaller than a grain of rice you may feel bloated and begin experiencing constipation. Constipation in pregnancy affects half of all pregnant women.
Why is the pregnant body more prone to constipation?
During pregnancy women produce a hormone called progesterone which relaxes movement in the intestines. In turn the bowels move more slowly and less effectively, as a result you see constipation during pregnancy.
High quality minerals and nutrients are necessary for a healthy fetus to grow and develop. As the body attempts to extract as much nutrients as possible from the pregnant woman’s food consumption higher levels of progesterone may be produced. The extra time that the body takes to absorb these nutrients slows the flow of digestion.
Pregnant women also need extra water for the extra blood volume needed during pregnancy. The pregnant body absorbs more water from the bowel than she would if she were not pregnant. This naturally causes a harder and dryer stool.
The longer food remains in the intestines the more water is absorbed from the bowel into your body to help with the extra blood required during pregnancy.
Most if not all prenatal vitamins contain iron which is also known to bring about constipation in pregnancy.
Treating Constipation in Pregnancy
-It is recommended that pregnant women drink a minimum of 72 ounces of water per day.
-Pregnant women should also increase the amount of fiber in their diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. For a more complete index of foods containing fiber see the fiber chart located at the top of this page.
-Eating two prunes a day is a natural and safe way to increase bowel regularity
-Peppermint tea can be used to help with bloating pains. I would also recommend trying to
reduce your stress levels as much as passable. Stress is also a known cause of constipation.
-Walking for 15 minutes following each meal significantly aids the digestive process and increases circulation to the intestines and bowels.