Pregnancy is, without a doubt, the best phase in a woman’s life. However, health issues are synonymous to this phase. Morning sickness to backaches, a pregnant woman has to face them all. Constipation is one such issue. Many women experience this annoying health problem during pregnancy. The problem can be tackled successfully with medications, natural remedies, a healthy lifestyle, and a proper diet. For an effective treatment, it is important to highlight the factors responsible for constipation during pregnancy.
Underlying factors resulting in constipation during pregnancy
1. Iron supplements contribute in a big way towards constipation during pregnancy. During digestion, a small fraction of the iron gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The large chunk of the unabsorbed iron remains in the intestine. This, in combination with other undigested foods, does not move out of the system with ease, resulting in constipation.
2. During pregnancy, a woman goes through a lot of hormonal changes. Progesterone, a pregnancy hormone, plays a pivotal role in constipation during pregnancy. More than often, progesterone relaxes the intestinal muscles, thus slowing down the digestion process, the obvious outcome being constipation.
3. A low-fiber diet can also cause constipation in pregnant women.
4. Constipation is common in women who do not eat properly. Reduced intake of water and other fluids will do the cause no good.
5. Lack of physical activities (mild exercise, meditation, walks), and sound sleep, stress, anxiety, fatigue, dehydration, and vomiting can also trigger constipation.
Steps and remedies to tackle constipation during pregnancy
1. A fiber-rich diet to the rescue
A healthy and nutritious diet is important during pregnancy. Include lentils, wholemeal bread, brown rice, cereals, fruits (grapes, guava, apples, oranges), vegetables (spinach, cabbage, celery), and dry fruits (raisins, prunes, dates) into the diet. These foods (fiber-rich foods) will enrich the diet with the necessary roughage. Prunes are effective against constipation. It is best to avoid products made from refined flour (white bread, pizzas, burger, cakes).
2. The fluid defense
A well-hydrated body is a powerful weapon against constipation. A pregnant woman should drink water and fluids (fresh fruit juice, coconut water, soups) at regular intervals. A glass of lukewarm water with lemon, early in the morning is a useful remedy for constipation.
3. Do not keep your stomach empty
It is important to have small quantities of a meal at regular intervals of time.
4. The magical husks
Many pregnant women have benefitted immensely using psyllium husks. A teaspoon of this powerful husk mixed with herbal tea or a glass of lukewarm water before going to bed is enough to soften the stool. One can also use flaxseeds (rich in fiber) to treat constipation during pregnancy.
5. The probiotic remedy
Daily intake of yogurt or curd brings about a significant improvement in women suffering from constipation. The probiotics or healthy bacteria in yogurt not only keep the intestine healthy. It also helps soften the stool.
6. The power of meditation
The benefits of meditation is known to all and sundry. It helps to keep the mind and body healthy. A good 15-20 minutes meditation is all that is needed to soothe and relax the body. In fact, meditation has helped many pregnant women to overcome constipation. In this regard, one cannot overlook the importance of yoga and light exercise. Though a healthy practice, it is still advisable to consult your physician before indulging in yoga and light exercise during pregnancy.
7. The herbal tea relief
Herbal tea can miraculously help to ease the bowel movements. Sipping a cup of dandelion tea is an excellent remedy for constipation.
8. A call that needs your attention
It is an unhealthy practice to postpone going to the toilet. Do not neglect the call of nature. It will make matters (constipation) worse in the long run.