How to relieve constipation during pregnancy
Lifestyle tips—to help with pregnancy constipation
- Adjust supplements – Prenatal vitamins can exacerbate constipation because of the iron and calcium. Ask your doctor about slow-release supplements or adjusting your dosage. Magnesium supplements can help, too
- Stay active – Activity encourages intestinal movement. Go for a quick walk
- Consume more fluids – Drink at least 8 12-fl-oz glasses of water or liquids (eg, milk, fruit juice, broth) a day. Research shows that staying hydrated can help alleviate constipation by improving the consistency of stool, making it easier to pass
- Eat smaller meals – They’re not as taxing on your digestive tract and create less gas, bloating, and constipation
- Take probiotics – Yogurt, yogurt drinks, kefir, and capsules with active cultures can increase the frequency of bowel movements
- Go – When you have to go, don’t put it off
Diet tips—to help with pregnancy constipation
- Get 28 to 34 g of fiber per day – Whole grains, bran cereal, vegetables, and fruits, like apples and kiwi, are high in fiber and can work as a laxative. Drinking water with fiber can help increase the benefit
- Skip bananas – Most fruits are going to help with constipation, but bananas can have the opposite effect due to their starchiness
- Resist refined foods – Too much white bread, white rice, pasta, and sugary foods can lead to constipation
- Eat prunes – Prunes and prune juice are a natural laxative
- Drink hot water & lemon – Warm water helps to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and create peristalsis, the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons and limes are high in minerals, vitamins, and pectin fiber, a soluble fiber that can work as a laxative
Try hydration beverages – To improve hydration by increasing your water absorption, try a hydration drink like Pedialyte®
Maybe you’ve heard that the more heartburn you have while you’re pregnant, the more hair your baby will have when he’s born? Believe it or not, a small study recently showed that there may be a link between the severity of heartburn and the amount of hair your baby has at birth.
While baby’s hair doesn’t cause heartburn, the hormones that contribute to baby hair growth are also associated with heartburn. So, if you’re feeling the burn, your baby may be arriving with a full head of hair!
What causes heartburn during pregnancy?
About 80% of pregnant women suffer from heartburn. It is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, often beginning around month two and carrying on until your little one is born. It happens when large amounts of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and relaxin relax the smooth muscle tissues throughout the body.
This impacts the gastrointestinal tract, esophagus, and the valve between your stomach and esophagus. This relaxed valve is less able to stop the backflow of contents from your stomach into your esophagus.
This can irritate the esophageal lining and cause a burning sensation in your throat and chest area. Your relaxed digestive tract also slows the movement of food, which contributes to constipation.
Later on, the added pressure of your growing uterus on your stomach and intestines can make things worse. Add in the increased acidity in your stomach caused by your pregnancy, and you feel the symptoms from all these factors.