Constipation is common during pregnancy. It causes difficulty in passing stool or fewer bowel movements. It also results in pain in your tummy and causes discomfort. Have a look below to know what is causing it and what can be done to resolve it. 

What causes constipation during pregnancy?
         An increase in the level of hormones during pregnancy causes the relaxation of muscles in the intestine that causes slow movement of food and waste products. The food and waste products remain in your body longer than they are used to and turn into a dry and hard stool. The growing baby not only puts pressure on the uterus but also on the bowel making it harder to function properly. Not drinking enough water or taking a low-fiber diet is also another reason. The iron medication also causes constipation since it makes the food harder to break in the intestine.

Why shouldn’t you ignore constipation?
         If constipation is left untreated it leads to hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Hemorrhoids can cause severe pain in the anal region which causes difficulty to even sit. It also causes bleeding which can result in anemia.

Does constipation affect your baby in any way?
         Because of the pressure, you will feel pain in your tummy and you might be worried and stressed about whether anything will happen to your baby but no, constipation doesn’t affect your baby in any way.

What are the things you should not try to relieve constipation?
         Avoid taking the laxative medication without a prescription from your doctor. Since these medications can also cause contraction of the uterus and put at risk of having a miscarriage or premature birth. Avoid drinking any oil like castor oil or mineral oil to relieve constipation.

Tips to avoid constipation:
1. Drinking 3 liters of water
         Eight cups of water are not sufficient when you are pregnant. 12 cups of water are necessary. If you are unable to take so much water try other fluids like smoothies, juices with no sugar, or low-fat milk.
2. Take fiber-rich foods
         A fiber-rich diet helps to soften the stool and makes them easier to pass. You can have a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lentils. Fruits like bananas, figs, apples, and berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are rich sources of fiber. Similarly, peas, beans, carrots, and green leafy vegetables are also great sources of fiber. Take six smaller meals instead of three larger ones. This will give time for the intestine to work slowly. Reduce the intake of carbs and fats.
3. Take probiotic-rich foods
         Taking probiotic-rich foods like milk and milk-based products like yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, lassi, and fermented foods helps in improving digestion and gut health.
4. Exercise regularly
         Make exercise a routine since it stimulates the movement of your bowels. Try to exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each session. Post-meal walking and moving around a bit helps with digestion too. Doing Kegels also helps.
5. Seek help from your healthcare provider
         If iron supplements are resulting in constipation do discuss with your doctor any alternatives or whether the dosage can be reduced. Check with your healthcare provider if any laxatives or supplements are safe to be taken during pregnancy to relieve constipation