Is constipation a sign of pregnancy?
One of the most common questions people asked: “Is constipation a sign of pregnancy?”. Speaking from experience, I can testify to the fact that constipation is a sign of pregnancy. In fact, it is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. And it is one of the most dangerous conditions during pregnancy because of the fact that it can cause serious complications while you are pregnant. Constipation should be avoided at all costs while you are pregnant.
One of the most common reasons for constipation in the early weeks of pregnancy is an increased supply of a hormone called progesterone into the system of the pregnant woman.
Progesterone causes the smooth abdominal muscles to relax which makes it difficult for the intestines to eliminate waste. The function of the intestines is supported by the contraction of smooth abdominal muscles during elimination, and when these muscles cannot function properly, the intestines have a hard time getting rid of waste. This causes constipation.
Another cause of constipation is the intake of oral iron supplements. Very little of the iron in these supplements actually reaches the bloodstream, so that most of the iron remains in the digestive tract. This iron combines with other waste and becomes sticky and difficult to eliminate. Combine this with not drinking enough water, and the stage is set for acute constipation to set in.
Some important tips to avoid this situation as followings:
In order to prevent this situation from taking place, it is advisable to drink lots of water. Also bear in mind that with the correct diet during pregnancy, no iron supplement needs to be taken. If you are in a position where you cannot get enough iron by means of your diet, it is always better to go the natural way. Many herbs and veggies, such as Kale and Spinach, contain enough iron to sustain your body during pregnancy. The eating liver also provides a substantial amount of iron.
Also try to stay away from foods such as bread, white rice and pasta, since these foods are difficult to digest to begin with and even more so because of a reduced abdominal capacity during pregnancy therefore easily causing constipation. When pregnant, you should consume enough proteins, oils, etc. Your total energy intake during pregnancy should be around 2600 calories per day of foods that are nutritious and can provide the nutrients necessary to sustain a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
A good guideline to follow would be to make sure that you eat some meat and fish, enough fruit and veggies of all colors, cooked and raw, and a fair amount of oils like Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and butter. Some eggs would also be good, and a variety of nuts. Nuts are particularly good to prevent constipation during pregnancy. Read What can Pregnant Women Take for Constipation?
Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, as this is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast kicks off your digestive system in the morning, so it is important that you eat foods that will prevent constipation. Being pregnant is not easy, and being constipated while you are pregnant is even worse.
If you do have about of constipation, it is good to take some Olive Oil (about a tablespoon at a time) followed by a glass of water with lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar and honey. This eases the pain and makes elimination easier. It also helps to eat some dried prunes (preferably boiled) or drink some prune juice.
When you battle for a long time without much of an eliminating experience, it can help to eat some boiled black beans. This contains good fiber that will help to get the bowels going. And never put it off until later when you get the urge to go. ALWAYS go as soon as immediately. Waiting will almost certainly cause a bout of constipation.
A daily intake of good quality probiotics is important and can be maintained by eating natural yogurt that contains Live Active Cultures (LAC). If the packaging of the yogurt does not bear the LAC sign, then the yogurt does not contain Live Active Cultures. What happens is that the manufacturers add preservatives that kill the bacteria in order to give the product longer shelf life. People buy stuff that is not real yogurt at all, while under the impression that they are eating probiotics. It is advisable to look for the LAC sign. That way, you will be sure to eat real yogurt that will keep your gut flora in balance and so prevent you from becoming constipated.
Once again, I cannot stress enough the importance of water in your diet, especially when pregnant. Water softens the stool and prevents constipation. It is a good general practice to start your day with a glass of water with the juice of a full lemon, even before you have breakfast. And, once again to prevent constipation, make sure you empty your bowels before you begin your day’s work.
Going for a long walk is also a good idea. This will get the body’s natural rhythm going, and bowel movement is part of this natural rhythm. Someone that loves walking and does so often seldom has a problem with constipation. Combine this with good gut health sustained by daily probiotic intake and a good, nutritious diet, and you should not have a problem with constipation, even while pregnant.
I also have to stress the importance of getting enough quality sleep during your pregnancy, especially during the last three months of your pregnancy. Also, try to avoid stressful situations as far as possible. Research has shown that stress can interfere with your sleeping pattern. A lack of sleep in turn causes anxiety. A vicious circle is formed where each of the three situations triggers the other, and it can become bad enough to cause unrelenting and constant muscle spasms all over the body. And muscle tension leads to constipation.
In short, you have to get enough sleep and avoid stress in order to avoid constipation. It has been proven that stress is actively involved in causing constipation. Not getting enough sleep can intensify stress, and it can also to a degree intensify constipation.
With all of that said, basically all that remains to be said is that you need to get enough exercise during your pregnancy. Exercise relaxes the mind and the mind subsequently relaxes the body.
Is constipation a sign of pregnancy? Yes, definitely. But there are things that can be done about constipation in order to avoid and relieve it.
- First Trimester of Pregnancy by WebMD Expert WebMD
- Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms by Dr. Louise Newson Patient