Constipation is an extremely common occurrence in pregnancy. A rise in the hormone progesterone is partly to blame as it contributes to a more relaxed and slower moving digestive system. Also, the iron in your prenatal vitamin can be constipating as well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help keep everything running smoothly during your pregnancy.
Tip to Improve Constipation While Pregnant
- Aim to include 25-30g of fiber daily in your diet. Good sources of fiber include: veggies, fruits, beans, prunes, and whole grain bread.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Breaking three big meals a day into 5-6 can reduce the stress on your digestive system and make it easier to process your food. Try keeping high fiber snacks handy throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of water. It is likely that you have noticed your thirst increasing even very early in your pregnancy due to the increase in blood volume needed to support your growing baby. It is important to stay properly hydrated each day to aid in digestion and prevent dehydration, which can be dangerous to both you and your baby. Aim for drinking half your body weight in fluid ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, try to drink 75 ounces each day.
- Use a stool or squatty potty to prop your feet onto while having a bowel movement. This puts your hips and pelvis in a more relaxed position to allow for less straining while having a bowel movement.
- Make sure you are always breathing, or exhaling while “pushing” for a bowel movement.
- Exercise. Engaging in regular exercise such as walking can help move along that sluggish stool. Walking, swimming, and yoga are also fantastic options. Try to find activities that you enjoy and feel good to your body. Moving your body for 20-30 minutes a day helps to activate the GI system.
Our Favorite Resources for Good Bowel Health
- Squatty potty
- A good water bottle to help you keep track of fluids. We love our Hydroflasks, especially with a straw lid!
- Easy ways to add fiber into your day with flax seeds, chia seeds, acacia fiber or prunes.
If you continue to have significant constipation throughout your pregnancy, reach out to a pelvic floor physical therapist to see how they can help! We always want to be here to support you at Atlanta PT.