Health & Fitness

Constipation During Pregnancy – Several Tips to Prevent

Pregnancy is the time women feel a lot of contradictory feelings and conflicts within themselves. Most women feel happy and excited to be a mom, at the same time worried and confused about how to welcome the baby safely. It will be more if you are becoming a mom for the first time or you have experienced bad experiences like miscarriage earlier.

The happiness and worry will be there, together and you will feel like you do not know exactly what to do. Here, professional help and advice from experienced hands are necessary. Though the pregnant woman feels both joys and worries, the elation and ecstasy of a mother always overpower the other.

Tips to Prevent Constipation During Pregnancy

Prevent Constipation During Pregnancy

Normally, pregnancy causes mild to moderate physical and emotional difficulties, thanks to the change in hormones mainly. Changes happening in the body may or may not be convenient to the pregnant lady. A pregnancy announcement usually comes as an immediate bout of vomit early in the morning.

Many women realise or remember their missed periods only then. Nausea, heartburn and vomiting continue the whole pregnancy for some but gets better after three or four months in many. The digestive system is affected and compromised in almost all months of pregnancy.

Digestion being the main daily process of cutting down the food particles and absorbing the nutrients in them needs a lot of enzymes and other chemicals produced in the body. All these enzymes and hormones are controlled by the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

Pregnancy is a condition where a foetus or a foreign body is inside the abdomen. The body reacts somewhat similar to an immune response through the foetus gets nourished well and grow inside. Changes in the chemical environment in the mother’s body may not be the same as before pregnancy.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause disturbances mainly in the digestive system in the early months. In the later stages, the body is changed in shape and the centre of gravity is shifted due to the baby bump.

Though the uterus is an elastic organ that contains the foetus safe, it has to push aside all the other pelvic and abdominal structures to expand to contain the baby in the last trimester.

All the structures are tactically adjusted in position for this purpose without hurting the baby or mother’s metabolism. In both these times, discomforts develop mainly in the digestive system like belching, gas trouble, indigestion and appetite issues. Another main concern is constipation.

Constipation is very common in both the first and last stages of pregnancy, due to hormones and physical abdominal pressure due to the baby. Constipation in pregnancy as such is not an emergency or fatal condition. It does not directly harm the foetus or baby. But constipation can lead to chronic conditions in the mother, if not managed well.

Chronic constipation may be the cause for straining that bulges the veins in and around the anus leading to the formation of haemorrhoids. They manifest as irritating soft lumps that come out of the anus with or without pain. At times they break and bleed through the anus.

There are chances of pain and infection, leading to complications. Apart from haemorrhoids, untreated constipation can also cause gastric troubles like indigestion, loss of appetite, heartburn etc.

If the pregnant woman is not taking enough nutritious food, it can harm both mother and foetus. The mother may develop deficiency disorders like anaemia while the foetus inside may face growth retardation.

Constipation in pregnancy is a condition that is utmost disturbing the daily life of the woman causing abdominal pain, pain in the leg, calf muscle cramps, indigestion and other signs of gas trouble. As pregnancy is a delicate condition, treatment for constipation should be done safely.

Strong purgative medications or medicines which are harmful to the baby are not suggested. Safe and natural ways of medicines like Ayurvedic medicines are opted by many globally. Ancient Indian wisdom of medicine known as Ayurveda can give the best results when dealing with constipation in pregnancy.

Though Ayurvedic medicines can be taken by a pregnant woman with no other complications, it is always advisable to take expert advice on the matter. Mild herbal laxatives and medicated enemas can be administered for the relief of constipation in pregnancy under expert supervision.

Diet and lifestyle along with body weight play an important role in normal metabolism in pregnancy. Some tips to prevent constipation during normal and uncomplicated pregnancy can be understood as the following.

Avoid heavy meals. Take a fresh, warm, fibre-rich and homemade diet taken as smaller meals four or five times a day. A balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, healthy forms of non-veg items if needed and dairy products is essential. Keep yourself hydrated.

Ayurveda advises that the diet of a pregnant woman should be rich in fluids and liquids. A decrease in water content will cause constipation, especially in pregnancy. Take a moderate amount of ghee as per the condition of the digestive system.

Cow’s ghee is nutritious and helps in digestion & excretion. Women with co-morbidities like diabetes or high cholesterol levels should get a doctor’s advice before taking ghee. Deprived sleep may lead to constipation. So, ensure good quality sleep at night and avoid daytime sleeping.

If you must, go for a nap in a sitting or slanting position. Avoid continuous sitting and a sedentary lifestyle. Stretching exercises and walking slowly will be helpful in the proper expulsion of wastes from the body. Ayurvedic medicines with herbs like draksha, Amalaki etc may be taken with expert advice.

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Alena Sham