Constipation in Pregnancy
Natural Constipation Remedies
Constipation in pregnancy is another common occurence among many expecting mothers. Although uncomfortable, it is usually not a serious
problem and can be alleviated by natural constipation remedies.
Many expecting mothers wonder why they suddenly become constipated during pregnancy. The main reason is hormonal changes which influence the whole digestive system.
During pregnancy, the levels of female hormones are higher than normal. These hormones are important because they are responsible for ensuring the normal development of the
fetus. However, these hormones also automatically slow down the expecting mother's intestinal movements.
One of these female hormones - progesterone - acts by relaxing muscles, including the exterior wall of the bowel. As you can imagine, a relaxed bowel wall is less able
to move food and bodily waste along, thus causing constipation during pregnancy.
Another possible cause of constipation in pregnancy is the intake of iron supplements. Often given to prevent anemia in pregnancy, iron supplements can cause
constipation or make constipation worse.
Although constipation in pregnancy is usually not a big problem, if continued, it may cause other more serious conditions such as hemorrhoids. In extreme cases,
a constipated bowel can result in difficulties giving birth. It is therefore important to address the problem in its early stage.
Signs of Constipation in Pregnancy
Common signs of constipation during pregnancy include:
- More than three to four days between each bowel movement.
- Difficulty passing stools.
- Bloated, tender abdomen, sometimes may have lower abdominal pain.
Natural Constipation Remedies
Here are some safe and effective natural constipation remedies for pregnant women:
- Psyllium Husks
Psyllium acts as a bulk-forming laxative and can be used safely during pregnancy.
Probiotics can help digestion and elimination by supplementing the body with "friendly bacteria". Take a probiotic supplement that contains at least 4 billion active
Quite a few homeopathic remedies are effective in giving quick relief from constipation in pregnancy. For this to work, however, you need to choose a remedy that most
closely matches your symptoms. A holistic practitioner can help you choose a suitable remedy and will advise you regarding dosage.
Here are some effective homeopathic remedies for constipation:
- Nux Vomica - This remedy is indicated if you have the urge but cannot pass stools, or stools are never completed. You tend to
feel irritable and stressed.
- Sepia - This remedy is indicated if you have a heavy sensation in the rectum and the lower abdomen. Stools are hard to pass, and you feel
irritable and chilly. You also crave for chocolate.
- Lycopodium - This remedy is effective if you have constipation accompanied by gas and bloating. You have strong cravings for sweets and your
symptoms are usually worse in the late afternoon.
Prevention of Constipation in Pregnancy
Prevention is always better than cure! Try to prevent constipation during pregnancy by doing the following:
- Eat a lot of fiber (such as fresh fruits, vegetables, dried fruits like prunes, whole grains, and beans).
- Drink lots of water - at least six, preferably eight, 8-ounce glasses a day.
- Drink something hot at breakfast (e.g. herbal tea or hot water with a bit of lemon juice). Hot drinks can wake up a sluggish digestive system.
- Eat on a regular schedule. Small, frequent meals can help prevent constipation.
- Exercise regularly. Simple activities, such as daily walks or swimming, can be effective.
Common Womens Health Problems
Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
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