Problems with the tummy and digestion are normal when you’re pregnant. But thankfully there are some tricks to relieve the pressure.
3 min read
Reviewed by Jenny Jansson
We don’t mind talking about trouble sleeping, back pain, or cramping calves. But when we get constipated, it’s all of a sudden a bit embarrassing to talk about, although this is a very common problem during pregnancy. The reason behind this is the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which slows down digestion and makes the digestive tract relax. You could notice it fairly early on but these problems are especially common towards the end of the pregnancy. The uterus and the growing baby are squeezing the digestive tract, which slows down bowel movements, affects digestion, and causes constipation.
There are ways to tackle this problem. Be careful with your diet and make sure you eat a lot of fibre. Fibre keeps your bowel movements active. A good piece of advice is to eat food that is rich in fibre, such as fruit, veggies, root vegetables, rye bread, muesli, and wheat bran. Make sure you get plenty of fluids – drink water! The water cooperates with the fibres and helps digestion, which softens the stool. Do what you need to do in the loo when you need to. Don’t keep it in because you have something else that needs to be done, and don’t be in a rush when you poop. If you rush, you risk constipation. Allow yourself plenty of time in the bathroom; you’ll be relaxed and your tummy can keep up. You can even rest your feet on a low footrest or a pile of magazines when it’s time to go to the toilet. It might sound insane, but it could help. Take your time to read a magazine too, that will get your mind off things and allow you to relax.
If you don’t exercise a lot during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to go for walks regularly. Remember that everyday exercise can help you with your constipation. Your movements stimulate the bowels, which will help you with your digestion. One of the best forms of exercise for pregnant women is swimming, an efficient form of exercise that is gentle on the entire body.
Still, struggling to go to the loo? Try a classic. Buy a jar of baby food with prune purée; it usually works as a natural and efficient “medicine” for constipation. Laxatives could be an option, but probably the last resort. Changing your diet goes a long way. But if you still have major issues despite doing everything right (including the prunes…) you have to consult your midwife.
Reviewed by Jenny Jansson
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