Constipation and Pregnancy
Hormone Imbalance and Constipation
While many expectant moms are prepared for such things as increased weight gain and odd cravings, few are prepared for the discomfort of constipation during pregnancy. All pregnant women do not report bowel problems but a great many do find that constipation during pregnancy seems to be worse and very noticeable. But why exactly would constipation be made worse by pregnancy?
Physical Causes of Constipation During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the muscles in a woman’s intestines will relax. This is actually caused by the hormone progesterone and it will slow the movement of food through the digestive system—and right there you have a recipe for constipation.
The reason for the constipation during pregnancy due to hormones is because slowing food through the digestive tract causes two main issues: To begin with, stool hardens and becomes more difficult to evacuate from your body. Secondly, the stool may compact in the intestines leading to blockages which can cause the severe abdominal pain that many women complain of during pregnancy.
Even if the hormones do not substantially affect the intestines, it is still possible for chronic constipation during pregnancy. This is due to the fetus itself. During the final trimester, the fetus begins to put pressure upon the lower intestines which can ultimately cause blockages that lead to chronic and often painful bouts with constipation.
Other Constipation Causes During Pregnancy
Constipation during pregnancy can also be caused by the vitamins and medications given to women as part of their prenatal treatment. Iron and calcium supplements are commonly prescribed to pregnant women and both have been known to cause constipation which is why you should immediately consult with your obstetrician if symptoms develop shortly after beginning the supplements.
Lack of physical exercise and sudden changes in diet are both known causes of constipation. Cravings may actually cause constipation during pregnancy. Plus, it is no secret that physical activity will continue to diminish as the due date approaches, so be prepared for some minor constipation at least as a result of the lowered activity level.
Laxatives and other harsh constipation treatments may be harmful to the baby which is why they are not recommended during pregnancy. It may be possible to relieve a blockage with a colon cleanser—but only so long as it is made from all natural ingredients and has the approval of your physician prior to use.
If this occurs, for quick relief seek an all natural colon cleanser that does not contain chemicals like laxatives and will not harm your baby.