What to Do About Constipation During Pregnancy

Causes and Remedies of This Common Pregnancy Woe

Dr. Kaylee Carroll Breathe. Physical Therapy Constipation During Pregnancy

Want to talk about something super sexy and the hot topic for every pregnant woman? Just kidding, we’re talking about poop! Or technically, the lack of pooping if we’re getting specific. 

I don’t know about you all, but just when I started to get regular in my bowel habits postpartum and was able to quit thinking about constipation because it was no longer a concern… Here comes the next pregnancy and the return of my old friend, constipation! 

Constipation can occur for different reasons in different people, but personally, pregnancy has always been a trigger for my body. Not only is it just annoying to have to think about your irregularity, but it can lead to some other even more annoying and bothersome bodily changes if not managed properly.

Things constipation can worsen:

  • Prolapse
  • Incontinence/Leaking (fecal or urinary) 
  • Hemorrhoids 
  • Lower abdominal discomfort/cramping
  • Lower back pain
  • Bloating
  • Irregular habits continuing moving forward

What can I do at home on my own? 

Natural Calm

This is a magnesium powder you can put in your water (also comes in gummies). 

Magnesium can help to calm muscles, cramps, tension, relaxation, and get a more restful night’s sleep; but it also can help constipation to get things moving! 

Consult with your doctor/midwife for questions concerning your personal safety of adding magnesium while pregnant or nursing.

Toileting Posture

Sit on the toilet (no hovering on public toilets), knees above hips (think Squatty Potty), and focus on taking deep breaths to relax and open pelvic floor muscles to allow for bowels to more easily pass.  

Water Intake

Water intake is important for SO many reasons while you’re pregnant, but also important to help maintain a good consistency of your poop to make it softer and easier to pass. Dehydration can contribute to impacted, hard, balled or clump-like consistency of poop. 

Diet

Get fiber through the foods you eat such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and nuts!

Iron pills that are plant based

If you’re anemic or iron-deficient and are advised to take supplemental iron, try to get an iron supplement that is plant-based. Plant-based iron supplements are absorbed at a more controlled rate to keep optimal levels of iron consistently, and decrease risk for imbalances (or iron toxicity) which can lead to symptoms such as constipation when taking iron at higher doses. 

(I personally used Hema-Plex by NaturesPlus with my first pregnancy) 

If you’re on the border where you may not need to take a supplement, try to increase your dietary intake of iron naturally through foods like meat, beans, leafy greens, nuts and fortified cereal and breads.

These are easy ways you can start to regain control of your constipation in pregnancy! If you try these things and your constipation persists, reach out to your medical provider and see if there are other options they’d avise for management. Don’t let constipation stress your body out during this beautiful time! 

This blog post is an introduction into constipation. Please consult with your physical therapist to receive advice that is specific to your body.