What is Constipation During Pregnancy?
Constipation during pregnancy is a common concern among many expecting mothers. It typically occurs in the third trimester and causes discomfort and other symptoms. One of the main causes of constipation during pregnancy is the increased levels of progesterone, a hormone that relaxes muscles throughout your body, including the digestive tract. This can slow the movement of food through your intestines, resulting in constipation.
Preventing Constipation During Pregnancy
Preventing constipation during pregnancy is ultimately the best remedy. Here are a few tips to help keep things moving:
- Eat fiber: A diet high in fiber can help prevent constipation by adding bulk to your stools and helping them pass more easily through your digestive tract. Aim for 20 to 25 grams of fiber a day and try to include plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes in your diet.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can also help to keep your stools soft and help them move through your digestive system more easily. The Institute of Medicine recommends an intake of 91 ounces (2.7 liters) of fluid per day for pregnant women.
- Stay active: Exercise can help keep your digestive system functioning properly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, such as walking or swimming.
Treating Constipation During Pregnancy:
If you are experiencing constipation during pregnancy, the following lifestyle changes may help:
- Reduce stress: Stress can play a role in whether or not you experience constipation. Try to get adequate rest, relaxation, and exercise to help reduce stress.
- Eat smaller meals: Eating large meals can slow the passage of food through your digestive system, leading to constipation. Eating several smaller meals throughout the day can help keep things moving.
- Take a laxative: If your constipation persists despite lifestyle changes, it may be helpful to take a laxative. Always ask your doctor before taking any medication, including a laxative.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience severe constipation during pregnancy or if it persists despite lifestyle changes and/or laxatives, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she may be able to recommend additional treatments or treatments that can be safely used during pregnancy.
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