Pregnancy Constipation – Some Causes and Some Solutions

By Tammy O’Brien 

Pregnant women undergo numerous physical, mental, and emotional changes and it is so important for women to understand these changes so that moms-to-be can take care of themselves during the gestational period. Remember, that little one growing inside, is counting on you.

One of the most irritating and common complaints heard by many an OB-GYN, is pregnancy constipation. Yes, pooping while pregnant can be a strain. My mother always said, if you could understand the reason why you might be facing a problem, then you would have a better chance at solving it.

So, let’s follow my mom’s advice and take a few minutes to talk about some of the reasons for constipation in pregnant women.

Constipation in pregnancy is really not a huge surprise. As your gestational period lengthens, your body produces higher levels of the hormone Progesterone and one of the natural side effects is that this pregnancy hormone slows down the digestion of your food which causes your intestinal muscles to relax. Think about the impact of that “slowing down” effect… as the waste moves more slowly through your digestive tract, the stool becomes drier and harder which makes it more difficult for you to actually pass the poop.

Moms-to-be might also experience difficulty with bowel movements because of the actual weight of the baby that is applying pressure to the lower abdomen. Mechanically, this pressure can make it tough to fully empty your bowels.

Sometimes iron tablets or even your prenatal vitamins may contribute to your pregnancy constipation. They both have a well-known side effect of constipation and when you are taking them together, well, then let’s just say the impact can be double the trouble! When you are with a child, you will want to make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout each and every day in order to stay well hydrated.

How can you avoid this challenge?

Pregnant women should also have a diet high in fiber. It is recommended that you take in at least 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day to be effective in finding relief for pregnancy-induced constipation. Fruits, vegetables, breakfast cereals, whole-grain bread, prunes, and bran are some of these foods which are high in fiber content.

Aside from eating the proper diet, you should exercise on a regular basis since inactivity increases your chances of experiencing bowel trouble. After you’ve gotten the OK from your doctor, try to exercise a minimum of three times a week, for 30 minutes each time.

You might also talk with your physician about either being able to safely reduce or eliminate your iron supplements. With careful planning and a healthy diet, good nutrition can often meet your special nutritional needs. It is always better to get your nutrition from healthy foods instead of vitamin or mineral supplements.

Pregnancy constipation can be an irritating and aggravating complication but there is hope for resolution. Take care of yourself throughout the gestational period…nine months isn’t really all that long…take care of yourself and your baby!

Here’s to your healthy delivery!

Are you expecting a visit from the stork?  Problems with pooping got you all clogged up?  No worries.  Pregnancy constipation is a common complaint of mothers-to-be and has been the subject of many conversations in the local OB-GYN office. So, relax, you are not alone!  You have options for getting things moving again.  Visit to learn more about some of the common causes of pregnancy constipation.

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