Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy, with up to half of pregnant women experiencing it. Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements become difficult, infrequent, and uncomfortable. It can cause a range of symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, nausea, and fatigue. While constipation is not unique to pregnancy, it is particularly common during this time due to the changes in hormones that occur.
While this can be uncomfortable and distressing, the good news is that there are several ways you can relieve constipation naturally.
Exercise plays an important role in maintaining good health, and during pregnancy, it can be even more beneficial. Certain exercises can help to strengthen abdominal muscles and increase blood flow, which in turn can stimulate digestion and ease any digestive discomfort. Not only can exercise help to relieve constipation, but it can also aid in reducing stress and fatigue, improving sleep, and increasing energy levels. Additionally, regular physical activity can help you stay fit during your pregnancy, which may make it easier for you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight afterwards.
Causes of Constipation During Pregnancy
There are several possible causes of constipation in pregnancy.
One common cause is the increased levels of progesterone in the body. This kind of constipation is also called “hormonal constipation”. Progesterone is a hormone that helps to relax smooth muscle tissue, and this can slow down the movement of food through the digestive system.
Dehydration is one of the major causes of constipation, aside from the hormonal changes brought by pregnancy. The food is chemically digested in the stomach. Eventually, it becomes stool through the intestine, constantly absorbing water naturally. If you lack water, the stool becomes stiff, making it more difficult to pass through your digestive tract. That is why it is difficult to poop because your stool is stuck for a longer time.
Pressure On The Intestine
You are more prone to experience constipation in pregnancy because as the weeks go on, the uterus expands and squeezes the large intestine. In other words, experiencing it while pregnant indicates that your baby is developing normally. That is why, you are struggling to exit your food as your baby matures in your womb.
Lack Of Exercise
Constipation can also be brought on by a sedentary lifestyle. Activities involving enough body movement help bowel movement for better digestion. Additionally, exercises strengthen the important bowel-related muscles like those in your abdominal wall, so it promotes a stronger movement of stool for easier digestion.
Constipation can be caused by a diet that is high in fat and low in fiber. The bulk and softness aid digestion to avoid hard, dry stools that are challenging to pass. It makes your stool more complex and prevents it from forming hard clumps. Foods that are rich in fiber are fruits, vegetables, and grains which the body cannot process.
Symptoms Of Constipation
Some mommies struggle with constipation in pregnancy and it is quite unnoticeable until you are unable to poop for days, together with abdominal discomfort.
Stool frequency varies from person to person because we’re all a little bit different. Some people routinely go to the bathroom three times every day. However, some individuals routinely have three bowel motions per week.
However, some mothers experience discomfort that is quite difficult to associate with constipation. During pregnancy, you might feel that the pain that you feel is caused by physical and hormonal changes, but in reality, you have constipation. These are the common symptoms that you should look out for:
- Infrequent stools
- Dry and hard stools
- Pain with bowel movements
- Abdominal discomfort
- Incomplete exit of stool
If your normal frequency of bowel movement is as seldom as it is, then you should not worry about anything. When extreme discomfort is encountered, you might want to consult your doctor.
How Can Exercise Help Constipation
Exercise can help constipation by improving muscle tone in the intestines and helping to move stool through the digestive tract. It can also help to reduce straining during bowel movements, which can further relieve constipation. Additionally, exercise can help to reduce bloating and gas build-up, both of which can contribute to discomfort and further constipation.
Regular exercise can also help to regulate the body’s natural digestive rhythms and helps to promote regular bowel movements. This can be achieved through aerobic activities such as walking, running, or swimming, as well as through strength exercises like yoga or Pilates.
7 Exercises to Relieve Constipation
If you are pregnant and struggling with constipation, there are some specific exercises that can help. While pregnancy itself can cause constipation due to the increased pressure on your abdomen, these exercises can help to alleviate the symptoms.
This exercise is simple and can be done anywhere. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Slowly tilt your pelvis backwards and then forwards, arching your back as you tilt backwards and rounding it as you tilt forwards. Repeat this 10 times.
Kegels are great for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and can help with both incontinence and constipation in pregnancy. To do a kegel, simply contract the muscles you would use to stop urine midstream. Hold for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times.
This exercise is also simple and can be done while sitting or lying down. If sitting, lift one leg at a time into the air, keeping your knees straight. If lying down, place a pillow under each knee and then raise both legs into the air before slowly lowering them back down again. Repeat 10 times for each leg (or 20 times total if doing both legs at once).
Squats can help to increase abdominal pressure, which in turn helps to move stool through the digestive tract more quickly.
Lunges are another great exercise for improving constipation since they also activate your abdominal muscles to help move stool through the digestive system.
Getting up and moving around is always helpful when you’re feeling constipated. Taking a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes will get things moving along nicely.
Swimming is a great way to get some gentle exercise while taking the pressure off of your joints. It also helps to increase circulation and improve digestion, both of which can help with constipation relief.
When Is The Best Time To Exercise?
There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone’s body and pregnancy experience is different. However, many experts recommend moderate exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week during pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters. This can help reduce constipation by keeping the digestive system moving and promoting regularity.
Walking is often cited as one of the best exercises to relieve constipation in pregnancy, but any moderate activity that gets you moving and raises your heart rate can be beneficial. Doing it in the morning is the best time for this exercise. If you are struggling with constipation, talk to your doctor or midwife about the best exercises for you and when to do them.
Diet To Relieve Constipation
There are a number of dietary changes you can make to help relieve constipation in pregnancy. Increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep things moving along. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Adding more probiotic foods, like yogurts and kimchi, to your diet can also help improve digestion. And if you’re feeling bloated or gassy, it might be a good idea to limit foods that are known to cause this, such as beans, cabbage, and onions.
If you’re struggling with constipation, try adding these foods to your diet:
Plums, pears, and apples are wonderful options since they contain a lot of fiber and have a high pectin content, which is a type of naturally occurring fiber. A medium apple with skin and an unpeeled small pear each have 4.4 g of fiber.
In addition to being high in fiber, vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are also excellent sources of folate and vitamins C and K. These vegetables aid in giving stools weight and volume, which facilitates bowel movement.
While processed grains have minimal dietary fiber, the majority of whole grains have good sources. Furthermore, by shortening colonic transit time, whole grains aid to normalize bowel motions, raise fecal weight, soften feces, alleviate constipation, and improve bowel movements (CCT).
Beans and lentils
Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils are some of the healthiest and most adaptable meals out there. Legumes are often low in fat and high in fiber, folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. Meat, which has more fat and cholesterol, can be replaced with beans and other legumes and still be nutritious.
Warm liquids are a terrific way to increase your body’s water intake, and staying hydrated is a highly effective natural strategy to relieve constipation. The stool becomes softer and more easily passes when there is more water in it.
If you don’t drink enough water, your constipation may be severe. It is advised to consume at least 8 glasses, or 2 liters or half a gallon, of water per day.
Additionally, the bowels are more prone to be active in the morning. It is advised that you develop the habit of drinking water first thing in the morning.
Alternative treatments for constipation
There are a number of alternative treatments for constipation in pregnancy that can be effective in relieving the symptoms, aside from these helpful exercises. These include the following:
Making sure to eat plenty of high-fiber foods can help keep things moving along. Adding in prunes, bran cereal, and beans are all good choices. Avoiding constipating foods like cheese, ice cream, and processed foods can also be helpful.
Drinking plenty of fluids is essential for keeping the digestive system flowing. Water is always the best choice, but herbal teas can also be helpful. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol which can actually contribute to dehydration and make symptoms worse.
Colonic massages or sometimes referred to as abdominal This technique involves massaging the colon with your fingers in a clockwise direction. Colon massages, according to massage therapists, can be used to eliminate waste, obstructions, and gas and improve gastrointestinal health generally. Particularly, having a massage helps to stimulate bowel movements and can be very effective in relieving constipation.
Laxatives are medications that treat constipation by loosening stools or causing a bowel movement and are intended for short-term use. In pregnancy, laxatives must be prescribed by the doctor and must be taken carefully to avoid misuse and potential danger to your child.
Stool softeners and laxatives are widely accessible over-the-counter. To address constipation in pregnancy, consult your doctor first before taking any medicine, including stool softeners and other laxatives.
A laxative can also be suggested by your doctor. Because they aren’t absorbed by the body, bulk-forming laxatives like psyllium (Metamucil, Konsyl, and others) and polycarbophil (FiberCon, Equalactin, and others) are frequently regarded as safe to use during pregnancy. Other laxatives that are approved for use during pregnancy include stimulants like bisacodyl (Ducodyl), saline laxatives such magnesium hydroxide (Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, Dulcolax, among others), and lactulose (Cholac, Constilac, others).
Lactic Acid Bacteria And Oligosaccharides.
Yogurt and other products with lactobacillus help to control the gastrointestinal environment. Additionally, oligosaccharides is beneficial for the normal flora (good bacteria) in your colon, so it is never a wrong choice.
If you continue taking lactobacillus and oligosaccharides even after constipation has been healed, you can stop it from happening again.
Things to avoid while having constipation
There are a few things you should avoid doing if you’re experiencing constipation in pregnancy.
First, don’t try to hold it in. This can lead to more discomfort and actually make constipation worse.
Second, don’t strain when you go to the bathroom. This can cause hemorrhoids, which are already a common problem during pregnancy. Try to take time and don’t force yourself to exit the stool. When the time comes that you feel that it is already there, take advantage of it. There might just be a little amount of stool, but at least are already exiting the toxins in your body.
Third, don’t take laxatives without first talking to your doctor. While they may provide relief, they can also cause dehydration and other problems.
Finally, avoid eating foods that are known to cause constipation such as dairy products, processed foods, and red meat. Instead, focus on eating high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
When to See a Doctor
If you are pregnant and constipated, you should try to relieve constipation with exercise. Walking is a great way to get things moving, and swimming can also help. If these exercises do not relieve your constipation, you should see a doctor.
Constipation can sometimes be a sign of a more serious health problem, and it should not be ignored. If the constipation is severe or lasts for more than three days, you should see a doctor immediately. Your doctor can help diagnose the cause of your constipation and recommend treatments to help relieve it.
Here’s What We Can Offer
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Women are allowed to take the supplement four times daily: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and right before bed.
Summing It All Up
Exercises to relieve constipation in pregnancy can help improve your bowel movement. Thankfully, there are several that you can do at home to combat it. Regular physical activity has been proven to provide relief from constipation; this list of exercises is a great resource for pregnant women who want to keep their bodies healthy without straining themselves too much. We hope this guide will help you find the perfect exercise routine that’s tailored just for you!