Relieving Constipation and Bloating During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and having bowel issues such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or even irritable bowel syndrome, you are far from alone. In fact, according to a recent study from Loyola University, up to 72 percent of women suffer from these symptoms while pregnant.
What surprised me the most about the study was the fact that most of the women who suffered from bowel issues didn’t seem to think it decreased their quality of life much. The women rated the impact they believed their symptoms had on their quality of life, and the impact only amounted to about a 5 percent decline in overall satisfaction.
The two symptoms that had the most impact on the women surveyed were constipation and bloating. That makes sense to me. Both of those conditions are uncomfortable or even painful when you are not pregnant, but add a baby to the mix and that’s no fun. But there are some ways pregnant women can help relieve constipation and bloating and feel better.
Eating more fiber
According to the Loyola study, pregnant women may need to double up on their fiber intake. They recommend consuming 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day but note that the women in their study averaged only about 16 to 17 grams. Fruits, vegetables, and cereals that are high in fiber are a great way to boost not only your fiber intake but essential vitamins and nutrients as well. Ask your doctor before adding fiber supplements, just to make sure they are safe for you.
Drinking plenty of water
Between the increased blood volume, your body has to support during pregnancy and your baby’s amniotic fluid, your need for water is greatly increased. I had a hard time drinking enough water when I was carrying twins, perhaps because they took up so much room. But I knew it was important, especially if I wanted to carry them close to term.
Drinking more water will not only help your baby. It will help keep you from becoming dehydrated, which can lead quickly to painful constipation. More water will help keep your bowels moving and make you feel better throughout your pregnancy. Start your day with a glass, and then keep sipping all day long.
Move all you can
Having been put on bed rest the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I learned that a lack of movement can increase the chances of constipation and bloating. If you are not on restriction from your doctor, try to at least go on a walk every day to keep your body moving and help promote your bowel function.
Ask about stool softeners
Stool softeners or suppositories may be safe for you to use during pregnancy, but please talk to your doctor first to make sure. If you can use a stool softener. Follow the directions carefully. Let your doctor know if you don’t see improvement in your symptoms.