Women tend to notice a number of changes in their digestive system during pregnancy. Some may notice diarrhea, while others may experience heartburn and gassiness. Does pregnancy also cause constipation? Here are some of the things that women should know about the link between pregnancy and constipation.
Does Pregnancy Cause Constipation?
Constipation can better be described as a decrease in bowel movements, hardened stool and abdominal discomfort. This problem can be caused by pregnancy. Constipation is thought to occur during this time due to pressure caused by the expanding uterus and hormones which relax the intestinal muscles, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
While some women may notice very severe cases of the problem, others may only experience it very mildly. It is also important to keep in mind that constipation can occur at any time during pregnancy. Some women may notice it early on, due to changes in hormones, while others may notice it later on, when the uterus has expanded the most.
How Can Constipation During Pregnancy be Treated?
To avoid or treat constipation during pregnancy, the best thing that a woman can do is make certain lifestyle changes. Pregnant women should increase their intake of fibrous fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains. Drinking lots of water and exercising regularly can also help prevent constipation. Some doctors may also recommend reducing your intake of iron supplements, as they can worsen the problem.
Women who are suffering from constipation during pregnancy should use caution when using over-the-counter medications to treat the problem. It is important to talk to your doctor before using any medication during pregnancy, such as Metamucil or stool softeners for constipation. That said, all pregnant women should avoid using mineral oils and laxatives to treat constipation, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Laxatives can cause uterine contractions or dehydration, while mineral oils can prevent nutrient absorption.
Overall, it is important to keep in mind that pregnancy can cause constipation. Even if you have never experienced the problem before, you may notice it while you are pregnant. On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that there are some women who may notice diarrhea or an increase in bowel movements during pregnancy. Before treating constipation or any other condition during pregnancy, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It should not replace the diagnosis of a licensed healthcare professional. Anyone who has any questions about their health should be sure to seek medical attention.
American Pregnancy Association: “Pregnancy and Constipation.”
Mayo Clinic, “Pregnancy constipation: Are stool softeners safe?”