Constipation During Pregnancy

The signs and symptoms of constipation includes the inability to pass stools without straining, less than 3 bowel movements a week, stools that are lumpy or hard, straining to have a bowel movement or feeling as though there’s a blockage and can’t completely empty the bowels. 

Constipation during pregnancy is quite common and can be experienced during any stage of pregnancy.  For many women, they may experience more constipation near the end of pregnancy when the uterus is near full size.  Constipation can result from a number of different factors including diet, hormones and pressure from the uterus. 

Concurrent symptoms can include bloating, abdominal discomfort, cramping in the abdomen, pain during a bowel movement and these symptoms can be even more uncomfortable during pregnancy.

Luckily, there are many safe and effective remedies for constipation during pregnancy.

Dietary Recommendations:

  1. Fluids: drinking sufficient amounts of water is beneficial to keep stools soft and easy to pass.  Water is important not only to help with stools but for absorption of water soluble vitamins, many biochemical and metabolic processes.  If it is difficult to drink plain water, try clear broths, natural fruit juices and herbal teas like peppermint tea or red raspberry leaf tea.  Aim to get at least 8 glasses of fluid a day and more in hot/humid weather.
  2. Fibre (soluble, insoluble, prebiotic): getting enough fibre from a variety of sources including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans will not only improve the consistency of the stools but also help with increasing stool bulk.  Fibre acts like a sponge to absorb toxins and help ‘scrub’ the gut.  The recommendation for the daily intake of fibre for an adult is between 28-34 grams.  If you find that you may not be eating enough high fibre foods, you can take a natural fibre supplement and adjust the dose to suit your needs.  Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and fluids with your fibre supplement. Prunes and Kiwis: both of these fruits have been shown in clinical studies to help with constipation.  They not only contain a range of different fibres but also antioxidants and beneficial nutrients.  Both are safe for pregnant women. 
  3. Iron: supplementation is important for some women during pregnancy but it may cause some constipation.  Speak with your health care professional and find a supplement that will not increase constipation.  Taking an iron supplement with sufficient amount of vitamin C will help with absorption and make sure you are also taking enough fluids with your supplement.

Lifestyle:

  1. Exercise and movement: being physically active, even if it is just walking for 10-15 minutes, several times a day will help the muscles that surround the intestines to help the stools transit.
  2. Keeping a regular schedule: giving yourself a calm space and time for a bowel movement is important.  Having a daily routine will result in less stress for the body and the nervous system.  It may even help to allocate a time every day to go to the bathroom and have a seat as this is part of ‘bowel training’.   Avoid straining and sitting too long.

Other remedies to consider:

Although some sources say that it is safe, stimulant laxatives like senna or cascara, we recommend to avoid during pregnancy as they may cause abdominal and intestinal spasm and cramping.  Also, if used over long term, or too often, they may cause dehydration or electrolyte imbalances as well as bowel dependence. 

Seawater magnesium is an ingredient that naturally contains a soluble magnesium but also a range of other unique and essential elements.  Magnesium is critical for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body.  A magnesium deficiency during pregnancy can result in pre-eclampsia, poor fetal growth and preterm labour.  Incorporating a small amount of seawater magnesium can help with constipation but also may help relieve muscular aches and pains, improve sleep and rest, as well as help with restless leg syndrome. As with any supplements, it is always recommended to drink plenty of water or fluids with your supplement. 

If you have any pre-existing health concerns or other digestive issues, we recommend always to check your symptoms and supplements with your health care professional. 

Our new product, the NU-LAX Pregnancy Regularity Support includes the clinically studied whole green kiwifruit powder, prune powder and the gentle seawater magnesium to naturally and safely help with regularity.  You can adjust the number of servings according to your needs and you can mix it with water or your favourite cold beverage.  Learn more about NU-LAX Pregnancy Regularity Support here https://nu-lax.com/product/nu-lax-pregnancy-regularity-support/