Constipation in pregnancy: why it comes and how to fight it

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Many pregnant women suffer from constipation, starting from the first trimester. It could also be one of the first signs of pregnancy. Why, and how to deal with it?



In this article

  • causes of constipation in pregnancy
  • remedies for constipation in pregnancy
  • drugs
  • sources and bibliography

Causes of constipation in pregnancy


To begin with, hormones and in particularincreased progesterone. While on the one hand it has the important task of keeping uterine contractions at bay, on the other hand it slows down intestinal peristalsis, i.e. the movements that bring feces to the anus.



As the weeks go by, theencumbrance of the baby bump which, especially in recent months, hinders the passage of feces. Finally, there can be one individual predisposition: in fact, it is women who suffered from constipation even before becoming pregnant.

The presence of constipation can favor the appearance or worsening of hemorrhoids

How to fight it


Taking stock of the strategies to relieve constipation are the recommendations of the World Health Organization for a positive pregnancy experience, released in November 2022.



  1. The first indication is drink more. During pregnancy, the need for water increases and, if you don't get enough, the stools harden and become even more difficult to pass. The classic 2 liters a day are especially recommended now: indeed, better even get to 2,5 liters!
  2.  The second indication concerns nutrition: it is necessary increase the consumption of fiber, found in foods such as vegetables (raw or cooked), fruit, nuts, legumes and whole grains (bread and pasta). Often it is enough to correct the pull of one's diet to solve the problem. For those who need it - hear your doctor about it - there are also some fiber food supplements.
  3. Finally, too the motion definitely lends a hand. A half hour walk a day, but also a little gymnastics or other sport (to be agreed with the gynecologist) help the peristaltic movements of the intestine.
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What drugs to use

If these precautions are not sufficient, it is good to consult your doctor, who will be able to advise you mild laxatives, from mucilage to lactulose.

By drawing water into the intestine - and thereby increasing the volume of stool - these products facilitate expulsion.

References

Sources for this article: World Health Organization Recommendations for a Positive Pregnancy Experience; Information material on WebMD.

TAG:
  • pregnancy regularity
  • constipation
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