Constipation often plagues pregnant women. Unfortunately, many women do not tell their doctors about this because they are embarrassed. Over the counter medications can contain ingredients that can harm your unborn child, which is why it is essential that you talk with your physician before using an over the counter medication.
Oftentimes, your constipation can be safely relieved with simple dietary and lifestyle changes along with the following home remedies. Let’s take a look at the top seven natural solutions for constipation during pregnancy that are safe and work quickly.
1. Exercise – Leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of constipation in pregnant women. Moderate exercises like walking and swimming stimulate the bowels and increase gut motility. Exercise increases digestion functions so that your stools do not become dry and hard. Exercise three days a week to help relieve and prevent constipation. The National Institutes of Health reports that exercise relieves a plethora of gastrointestinal symptoms.
2. Fiber – When you are constipated, increasing your fiber intake can help to bulk your stools and make them easier to pass. When it comes to fiber, there are two different types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water to help improve the consistency of your stools. Insoluble fibers help foods travel more quickly through your digestive system. Both types of fiber are needed to help relieve and prevent constipation during pregnancy. One of the best ways to ensure that you are getting enough fiber is to eat a healthy diet filled with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
3. Increase your water consumption – When you become dehydrated, the risk of constipation increases exponentially. Scientific studies have shown that in order to decrease the risk of constipation, you must drink the recommended amount of fluid each day. How much fluid should you drink each day? That is not an easy question to answer because the amount needed depends on your activity levels, overall health, and diet. However, a good rule of thumb is to drink one ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you are physically active, you may need to increase this amount even further.
4. Prenatal vitamins – Many of today’s prenatal vitamins contain ingredients like iron that can lead to constipation. Furthermore, many of these vitamins do not provide you and your unborn child with the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Taking prenatal vitamins that are free of preservatives, fillers and artificial colors will help prevent your constipation and ensure that you and your unborn child are getting the nutrients needed.
5. Probiotics – Constipation can be caused by an imbalanced gastrointestinal tract. When harmful bacteria invade the GI tract, constipation, abdominal cramping and swelling can occur. Probiotics increase the number of good bacteria in the GI tract and help to relieve swelling and cramping. Furthermore, probiotics improve intestinal movements to help stool travel through the GI tract faster. If gut motility becomes sluggish, too much water is drawn out of our stools, which leads to dry, hard stools that are difficult to pass. Eating probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt along with taking a probiotic supplement can help to improve gut health and relieve your constipation.
6. Prunes – Prunes and prune juice contain sorbitol, which is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that acts as a laxative. Studies have shown that adding prunes to your diet works better than taking an over the counter laxative. If you are suffering from constipation while you are pregnant, eating approximately seven prunes each day can help regulate your bowel movements and relieve your constipation.
7. Reflexology – Reflexology can help with a variety of issues, including constipation. Reflexology is a holistic treatment that applies pressure to certain areas of the body, referred to as reflex points. These reflex points are typically found in the hands and feet. You can help to relieve constipation by gently massaging your upper soles and your palms to relax the digestive system.
Do you suffer who constipation? Many pregnant women think that constipation is a natural part of pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth! Use the seven natural solutions for constipation that can be safely used during constipation. If these natural solutions do not relieve your constipation, speak with your OB/GYN.