Pregnancy constipation is a very real thing, my friend. It is ROUGH. And the worst part? It can happen at any point in pregnancy, including during your ENTIRE pregnancy. But before you panic google “how to poop while pregnant”, we’re here to give you the down low (no pun intended) on pooping, or the lack thereof, in pregnancy. Also, there’s always the hope that after reading the word “poop” a thousand times in this blog, you’ll finally have the urge to go!
What causes pregnancy constipation?
Just like nearly every other pregnancy symptom, hormones are to blame for the sudden halt in digestive flow. More specifically, progesterone is the culprit. When the progesterone levels in the body increase during pregnancy, the muscles in the body relax. This is really helpful when it comes to the rearranging of the organs to make room for baby, but not so helpful for your digestive system.
When the intestines relax, they move more slowly, which results in slower digestion. Cue the poop problems.
Preventing pregnancy poop problems
Of course, you can’t prevent the increase of progesterone in your body during pregnancy, but there are other things that can contribute to constipation that you have more control over.
Common contributing factors to slow digestive issues include low amounts of fiber intake, lack of physical activity, insufficient water intake, iron supplements, and mood changes. For that reason, it’s always important to be aware of your lifestyle habits and emotions when trying to determine what might be contributing to your poop problems.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends the following tactics In attempting to prevent constipation:
- Consume 25 to 30 grams per day of dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, breakfast cereals, whole-grain bread, prunes, and bran.
- Drink at least 80 to 96 ounces of fluids (water, ideally) each day.
- Exercise three times a week for 20-30 minutes each.
- If you are taking an iron supplement, talk to your healthcare provider about natural ways to increase your iron levels instead, or consider taking smaller doses of iron throughout the day rather than taking it all at once.
- Learn to recognize when you might be experiencing increased anxiety and/or stress and work on finding ways to mitigate those feelings.
How can I motivate my sleepy bowels to get moving?
If you have already tried all of the prevention techniques listed above and are still pretty backed up, there are some over-the-counter medications that have been shown to help move things along. While these medications are known to be pregnancy-safe, it is always recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider before taking any new medications.
- Colace (docusate sodium)
- Fibercon (calcium polycarbophil)
- Metamucil (psyllium)
- Milk of Magnesia (magnesium hydroxide)
- Miralax (polyethylene glycol)
Well, there you have it; the essential information on pooping during pregnancy. I hope this information brings you some quite literal relief very soon. Happy pooping!