Constipation is a symptom of pregnancy. It affects both pregnant and non-pregnant women and can happen in the second, third, or fourth trimester. It is a common problem during pregnancy. But, it can be a health hazard if it persists for more than 2-3 months.
It is advised that pregnant women should try to stay away from soda, and other sugar-rich drinks that can cause constipation. So, what can be done to get rid of constipation? In this article, we will be discussing some remedies to help deal with constipation.
Constipation can make you feel like you can’t do anything, especially because there is a lot of waste that needs to go through the colon. Food just sits there and is not digested. You can have a lot of stool in your rectum or stool in your underwear. The more stool in your rectum, the harder it is to go, or the more discomfort you may have. Constipation can be caused by anything, from not eating enough to a medical condition or your diet not providing your body the right nutrition.
It is well known that a lack of fiber in your diet can affect your baby’s growth. But now there seems to be a connection between constipation and early signs of pregnancy. According to the research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, having severe constipation in pregnancy may lead to depression in women. So, it is important to ensure that you are having enough fiber in your diet, as your OB/GYN might suggest.
Constipation during pregnancy
Constipation is common in pregnant women. It is a common problem for pregnant women and it is known to be a reason for anemia. So, many people consume whole grains that leads to constipation. Other things that can cause constipation during pregnancy like constipation in the first trimester that is known as morning sickness. Other common causes of constipation during pregnancy are lack of water, too much sodium, and too much fiber in the diet. If your daily diet has too much fiber, then the fiber can travel to the colon and this can cause constipation.
What is the difference between constipation and diarrhea?
There isn’t much to say about constipation and diarrhea.
However, in most of the cases, when diarrhea happens, constipation was already there. Diarrhea is an extremely common symptom of constipation. It often comes and goes over several days and may include large amounts of watery, foul-smelling, dark-colored, or tarry stools.
Common cause of constipation
The most common cause of constipation during pregnancy is not enough fiber. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, a diet high in fiber helps to maintain stool consistency, regulates bowel movements, and boosts regularity in women. So, during pregnancy, make sure to consume fiber-rich foods, such as beans, peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds. The fiber will help your body to pass stools easily and ease constipation. Fibre also helps in digestion, controls blood sugar levels, and help you to feel fuller for longer.
Foods that are high in fiber include
- Whole grains
- Cashew nuts
- Pulses (chickpea, navy beans, barley)
- Curry leaves
- Leaves of avocados
Refined grains, such as white rice, bagels, white bread, crackers, cookies, chips, crisps, cornflakes
Other causes of constipation in pregnancy
- Infections, such as malaria, jaundice, bacterial vaginosis, Candida, etc.
- Inability to move stools
- An imbalance of gut bacteria
Women may also be constipated because of problems like irritable bowel syndrome, vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid dysfunction, or diabetes. Consult a doctor before taking medicine to treat constipation.
How to avoid constipation in pregnancy
Fiber-rich foods help to maintain bowel movements during pregnancy. So, while planning for your pregnancy, you should avoid foods that are high in refined flour and added sugar. Refined grains, white rice, bagels, white bread, crackers, cookies, chips, crisps, cornflakes, white pasta, and potato are examples of refined grains.
The simplest way to treat constipation is by drinking enough water, eating more fiber, and going to the bathroom more often.
If you think you may have a medical condition causing your constipation, talk to your doctor.
They may be able to help you find the right treatment for your medical condition. If nothing changes, you may need to see a gastroenterologist.
First, start by drinking a lot of water. Do not skip the meals. Eat small, frequent meals. It is a good idea to eat porridge or a banana porridge in the morning. Drinking water throughout the day will help you to feel full.
If you feel like you need to go to the bathroom, get up and go. When you are constipated, you may also find that you need to go very often.
Talk to your doctor if you are having problems going to the bathroom when you need to. Foods like apples, bananas, and green tea can be great for digestion.
Prenatal vitamin supplements
A study shows that taking prenatal like B6, B12, D, and folic acid can help constipation in pregnant women. There are certain vitamin supplements that you can take before and during pregnancy to help ease constipation. These supplements are usually found in capsule form. However, some of the pregnancy supplements available in the market like Lactosource are based on powder form that can be easily taken.
Grains, if consumed in the right quantity and at the right frequency can help relieve constipation. The recommended amount of grains for one-third of pregnant women is six to seven servings of grains per week. To get adequate grains, try to include cereal, barley, oats, and bran in your diet.
There are also gluten-free and lactose-free grains that can be consumed without any difficulty.
Refined carbohydrates include white bread, muffins, pasta, rice, etc. These are not a good option for pregnant women as they can cause constipation. Instead, try to eat whole-grain foods that include whole wheat, brown rice, corn, and other varieties. It is important to consume whole grains as it contains high fiber content. This can help to maintain regularity in the second and third trimester.
Home remedies for constipation
Garlic is a super food and an amazing remedy for constipation. It is well known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce abdominal pain, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. It is also great for digestion.
Wash the hands and cut a few cloves of garlic and ginger.
Gently squeeze a little of the garlic and ginger juice on to a small amount of warm water.
Soak it in for a few minutes and then strain it.
Add a pinch of salt to this solution and drink it twice daily.
Onion contains fiber that helps regulate bowel movements. Onion juice is extremely beneficial for people who suffer from constipation. It also helps to neutralize the acids in the colon. It improves bowel movement and helps the body to expel extra fat that it gathers during pregnancy.
Cut half a large onion into slices and wash them.
Strain the onion juice and allow it to cool.
Mix a teaspoon of onion juice with water in a cup and drink it every morning. You can also make a powder out of onion juice by mixing it with a few tablespoons of honey.
Fenugreek is another wonderful natural remedy for constipation. It is a good source of magnesium and fiber, which helps to keep the intestines healthy. It has also been used to treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Fenugreek powder is available in India and you can buy it in any ayurvedic store.
Cut a few fenugreek leaves and soak them in water for a few hours.
Strain the water and allow it to cool.
Mix it with half a teaspoon of honey.
Sip a cup of it thrice daily.
Aloe vera contains calcium and other minerals that are crucial for maintaining healthy bowel movements. It also contains properties that help to balance the natural balance of fluids in the digestive tract. The juice of aloe vera is another great natural remedy for constipation. You can also add 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel to a cup of warm water and drink it twice a day.
Goat’s milk is rich in vitamin B12, which is necessary for normal digestive function. Goat’s milk also contains antioxidants that are essential for a healthy bowel. Goat’s milk has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to deal with constipation and other digestive problems.
Take one teaspoon of goat’s milk daily.
Raw milk is also a great natural remedy for constipation. The lactose in the milk is what causes constipation. According to various studies, drinking raw milk can also improve digestion and stimulate the growth of new cells. Raw milk is also a good source of essential nutrients that can regulate bowel movements. Drink a glass of raw milk every morning before breakfast.
Constipation is a common symptom during pregnancy that can be treated by a diet that is rich in fibre and fluids. If a pregnant woman is suffering from constipation she can consult her doctor. Before starting the diet, keep in mind that pregnant women have to balance the food intake and avoid overeating as it may cause constipation.