6 Tips On How to Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Pregnancy is an exciting season in someone’s life. Yet, when it becomes hard to poop, the thought of 8 more months of feeling bloated, gassy and constipated can be daunting. Did you know up to one third of women will experience constipation during their pregnancy1? While constipation is common during pregnancy, there are lots of tips to improve your bowel function so you don’t feel stopped up!
Why does pregnancy constipation happen?
While constipation during pregnancy is not completely understood, a rise in the hormone progesterone is partly to blame. Progesterone leads to relaxation of the walls of your intestines which results in a more relaxed and slower moving digestive system2. While pregnant, you may be experiencing other symptoms like nausea, vomiting or fatigue which makes exercise less appealing. Regular exercise helps keep you regular so if you have noticed a decrease in your activity level, this may also contribute to slowing down your GI system. Furthermore, the iron in your prenatal supplement may also be contributing to your constipation. Even though constipation can be very frustrating, there are lots of easy ways we can optimize your gut function to reduce pressure on your pelvic floor.
6 Tips to Improve Constipation While Pregnant
1. Eat more fiber:
Aim to include 25-30g of fiber daily in your diet. Good sources of fiber include: veggies, fruits, beans, prunes, and whole grain bread.
2. Eat smaller meals throughout the day
Breaking three big meals a day into 5-6 can reduce the stress on your digestive system and make it easier to process your food. Try keeping high fiber snacks handy throughout the day.
3. Drink plenty of water.
It is likely that you have noticed your thirst increasing even very early in your pregnancy due to the increase in blood volume needed to support your growing baby. It is important to stay properly hydrated each day to aid in digestion and prevent dehydration, which can be dangerous to both you and your baby. Aim for drinking half your body weight in fluid ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, try to drink 75 ounces each day.
4. Use a stool or squatty potty
Prop your feet on a squatty potty or stool while having a bowel movement. This puts your hips and pelvis in a more relaxed position to allow for less straining while having a bowel movement.
Make sure you are always breathing, or exhaling while "pushing" for a bowel movement.
Engaging in regular exercise such as walking can help move along that sluggish stool. Walking, swimming, and yoga are all fantastic options. Try to find activities that you enjoy and feel good to your body. Moving your body for 20-30 minutes a day helps to stimulate your gut motility.