Feeling bloated is almost a rite of passage when pregnant. But when that feeling is a byproduct of constipation, it is EXTREMELY uncomfortable.
Here is why you may feel backed up and what you can do about it.
Constipation can begin as progesterone levels increase. Progesterone causes the muscles in your bowels to relax, allowing food to hang around the digestive tract for an extended amount of time. While uncomfortable, it’s not all bad. More nutrients absorb into your bloodstream for you and Baby. But and there is always a but, it can cause a traffic jam.
There are many ways to handle constipation:
- Fiber: Fiber-rich foods help you eliminate waste. The recommended amount of fiber to consume is 25-35 grams each day. You can find fiber in whole grain cereals, bread, legumes, fresh fruits, and veggies. If you have a sweet tooth, dried fruits are a great way to satisfy and combat constipation.
- Say no to “Refined”: Avoid refined grains such as white bread, white rice, and pasta. These are culprits for constipation.
- Hydrate: Drink fluids, especially water, because they keep solids moving through your digestive tract and make stool softer and easier to pass. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day will help aid the process. If you are really in a bind (pun intended), prune juice is considered a mild laxative and can help.
- Avoid big meals: A large meal can overwhelm your digestive tract and back things up. Eating smaller meals throughout the day can help with less gas and bloating.
- Prenatal Vitamins: OBs always recommend prenatal vitamins. They can cause constipation in some individuals. If this happens to you, ask your doctor about alternative prenatals or supplements that will fight constipation.
- Probiotics: Yogurts containing active cultures have probiotics. Probiotics will stimulate the intestinal bacteria that breaks down food and keeps thing moving. Probiotics can be found in supplements as well. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
- Exercise: Movement alone encourages healthy bowel movements. A simple walk can get things moving. As always, do not begin a new workout regimen until you check in with your doctor.
- Warning about laxatives: Check with your doctor before taking any constipation medication. Not all medicines are safe during pregnancy.
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