Prenatal Constipation Vitamin
Are prenatal vitamins a significant
cause of constipation?


By Dr. Chaithanya R. MBBS (see his other article)

Prenatal Constipation Vitamins. Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy. Statistically, fifty percent of pregnant women suffer from constipation during pregnancy. 


Why Constipation is Common
During Pregnancy


There are numerous possible reasons, including:

  1. An increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy, which causes relaxation of smooth muscle in the colon.

    This can hinder peristalsis, the wave-like contracting action of the colon that moves stool along, causing stool to stay too long in the colon. It then tends to dry out and become hard.

  2. Prenatal vitamins may play a role. Heavy dosages of iron along with a number of other prenatal vitamins may cause constipation in pregnant women.

  3. Dehydration and lack of exercise may aggravate the problem.

  4. Later into the pregnancy, pressure of the growing uterus on the rectum tends to restrict the movement of feces. It can also cause pelvic pain, which may inhibit a person’s voluntary effort to pass stool.

  5. Pregnancy may cause a woman to experience added stress. Stress may directly contribute to a dysfunction in the colon.

Prenatal Constipation Vitamins


Recommended prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are different from normal adult vitamins. Various vitamins are recommended by doctors for the well-being of mother and fetus. 

They include:

  • Iron
  • Folic acid
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Copper

Iron and Folic acid are especially crucial and should be mandatory for pregnant women, as they are needed for the health of the newborn.

Of the vitamins above listed, iron and calcium are the two that are most likely to contribute to constipation.

How much do prenatal vitamins contribute to constipation? We have no way of accurately determining this, in comparison with other factors causing constipation during pregnancy.

Whether prenatal vitamins will cause constipation depends a lot on the individual. Your doctor is the best person to guide the pregnant woman as to which prenatal vitamin to take, and at what dose.


Vitamins, minerals and antacids

Prenatal Constipation Vitamin information. Iron, calcium supplements, Vitamin D, and antacids that contain calcium and aluminum are contributors to constipation during pregnancy.

  • Avoid taking a higher dose of vitamins than prescribed by your doctor

  • Eat a healthy diet that contains a good amount of iron and calcium. This will limit the amount of iron and calcium supplements that will be needed

  • Don’t take your vitamins all at once. Spread them throughout the day. This increases absorption, which means that less of your vitamins make it to your colon to cause problems.

Why Iron causes constipation

Iron is a metal that carries electrical and magnetic charges, making it responsible for slowing of bowel movements, leading to constipation.

  • A quickly absorbed form of Iron is more effective at getting iron into the body, but is more likely to cause constipation.

  • A slow release form of iron may not cause as much constipation, but is not as beneficial.

  • Iron received through one’s diet does not cause constipation.

Most doctors will prescribe a quickly absorbed iron because of the effectiveness of assimilation. Unfortunately, constipation is the side effect.

Why calcium causes constipation

There is no research available that provides in-depth discussion as to why calcium causes constipation.

Yet is a well-known fact that calcium and vitamin D may cause constipation when taken long-term or when taken in higher doses.

The two most common forms of calcium are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate should be taken with food for better absorption, while calcium citrate may be taken any time.

Calcium that we get through our diet causes much less constipation than supplemental calcium.

Changing your prenatal vitamin

Prenatal Constipation Vitamin

It is not recommended to stop or switch your prenatal vitamins without consulting with your doctor first. Both you and your baby need these vitamins, and your Physician is the best one to guide you in which is best for you.

Iron, calcium, and Vitamin D are the major prenatal vitamin ingredients that can constipation. Other supplements like Folic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Zinc will never cause constipation.

Magnesium may reduce or eliminate constipation during pregnancy

Research shows that the magnesium can help in relieving severe chronic constipation. 

Magnesium deficiency is quite common. Along with treating constipation, magnesium has other added health benefitsMost prenatal vitamins contain both magnesium and calcium. Magnesium can help to counteract the constipation caused by calcium.

Because magnesium draws water into the colon, its effect is that stool becomes moist and soft, making for easier elimination. This is especially helpful for relieving constipation when colonic movement is restricted by pressure from the uterus. 

Magnesium in the form of sea minerals exists in ionic form and is directly absorbed into the body. A magnesium sea mineral supplement can be taken on a daily basis throughout pregnancy.

Conclusion, prenatal constipation vitamins

Some prenatal vitamins may cause constipation, especially iron, calcium and vitamin D. 

Getting enough fiber in one’s diet, drinking enough water and other fluids, taking a magnesium supplement or other another mild laxative can help in relieving the constipation during pregnancy.

(Return from Prenatal Constipation Vitamin to Causes of Constipation)

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