What Causes Constipation During Pregnancy

Constipation during pregnancy is probably the last thing you want to worry about.  Pregnancy is the miracle of life, but as your body prepares for the birth of your baby, weight gain, food cravings, and hormonal changes can make pregnancy difficult on any woman.  While most women share their pregnancy experiences with other “mommies to be,” few reveal the possibility of constipation during pregnancy.  Though we may not all  suffer the affects, many women do report noticeable and more severe constipation during pregnancy–but why?

As our bodies adjust to the growth of the baby, we will begin to produce higher levels of the hormone Progesterone.  As a side effect of the increase in Progesterone, the our body will slow the digestion of food, causing the intestinal muscles to relax.  As digestion slows two issues occur: feces harden, making it more difficult to empty the body during bowel movements, and as hardening stool moves through the gastrointestinal system it compact causing blockages.

If hormones are not the factor for constipation during pregnancy, it is possible that constipation is due to the presence of a growing fetus.  As the fetus develops within the body, it applies pressure to the lower abdomen including the intestines causing possible fecal blockages that can result in constipation.

Medications and vitamin supplements prescribed to expectant mothers to boost immune systems can also cause constipation during pregnancy. Iron, Calcium and other pre-natal vitamins are commonly known to cause constipation, and when taken together, an even greater chance of developing constipation exists.  If you experience constipation while taking any medication or vitamin, contact your doctor and discuss options to avoid further discomfort.

As your pregnancy progresses, you will become less physically active and more prone to eating fatty foods, both activities which are proven to cause constipation–especially during pregnancy.  Educate yourself on the effects of pregnancy your body, and be aware of any factors that may cause constipation during pregnancy.  Knowing what to expect during this time of great change will help you battle the effects of pregnancy, and possibly avoid them.

Although laxatives can combat the effects of temporary constipation, they are not recommended for use during pregnancy as active chemicals may harm mother and baby.  However, to alleviate constipation during pregnancy, it may be beneficial to use a colon cleanser to remove feces stuck to the walls of your gastrointestinal tract.  If you choose to use a colon cleanser during pregnancy, make sure to choose one with all natural ingredients to avoid side effects, and potential birth defects.  In any situation, it is best to consult your doctor before taking any medication or supplement to fight constipation during pregnancy.  It’s up to you to ensure the safety of your baby as well as your own.

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