By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, B.H.M.S
Constipation relief during pregnancy
More than fifty percent of pregnant women suffer from constipation at some point during pregnancy. Though so common, constipation remains one of the least talked about aspects of pregnancy.
Many women feel embarrassed to discuss it. Others suffer in silence until it becomes a major issue for them. The good news is, constipation relief during pregnancy is easy and safe if you follow the natural methods found in this article.
Constipation with its dry, hard stools can be the result of a number of things.
Although constipation can be troublesome and frustrating, here are some ways you may be able to avoid it and get constipation relief during pregnancy instead!
A diet rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber is the best place to begin for constipation relief.
Include plenty of fresh fruits and veggies in your diet.
Dehydration is one of the main causes of constipation.
When the body is dehydrated, it will pull extra water from the colon to use elsewhere. This results in dry, hard and compacted stool.
Most people know that water is the best beverage for fighting dehydration. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses a day during pregnancy will keep dehydration away.
Drinking warm water after waking up in the morning has a special effect for relieving constipation. This is probably why people find a hot cup of coffee or tea helps to stimulate a bowel movement.
If you find it hard to drink so much water, then juices, coconut water and raw, unpasteurized milk may also help you to keep hydrated.
Drinking too much tea, coffee, colas or other caffeinated beverages may actually cause dehydration.
These drinks act as diuretics, expelling more water from the body than they add.
Although heavy exercise should be avoided during pregnancy, staying active enhances bowel activity, giving way to constipation relief during one's pregnancy.
Swimming, mild aerobics or just taking a walk is usually sufficient. These exercises not only help in relieving constipation, but help in maintaining the flexibility of the pelvic muscles, which can make labor faster and easier.
Consult your health practitioner to learn which exercises are advised during pregnancy.
Some people use castor oil for relieving symptoms of constipation. However, castor oil or other mineral based oils are not safe to use during pregnancy.
Epsom salt and Milk of Magnesia have been used by doctors to treat constipation.
However, because of the huge dose of magnesium (up to 4,000 mg.) in a single dose, long-term use of these supplements is not advised.
On the other hand, a magnesium supplement that supplies the recommended daily allowance of 300 to 400 mg. of daily magnesium can be quite effective at overcoming constipation.
Since 80% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diet, taking a magnesium supplement may actually result in certain health benefits.
Concentrated sea minerals contain magnesium sulfate, recommended for constipation relief, and magnesium chloride, recommended for meeting the body’s need for magnesium.
Sea minerals contain a host of trace minerals that may be beneficial in several ways.
If the above mentioned remedies do not work, I advise the use of stool softeners. However, stool softeners and most other laxatives should generally be avoided, since they can cause dependency.
Stool softeners reduce the transition of water out of waste materials so stool remains soft and easier to pass.
Stimulant laxatives force peristalsis, the contracting of the colon that moves stool along.
The longer they are used, the more the body relies on them for peristalsis. Eventually, they lose their ability to stimulate contractions of the colon, which can result in chronic constipation.
Constipation during pregnancy can be quite unpleasant. But by incorporating the right kinds of foods and staying hydrated, many constipation problems can be avoided.
A daily magnesium supplement is a great way to treat moderate to severe cases of constipation during pregnancy.