Frequent urination and morning sickness are both well-known pregnancy symptoms. But did you know that expecting a baby often goes hand in hand with bowel problems, too?
Many first-trimester symptoms are common knowledge, both among people with a special interest in pregnancy and everyone else. Morning sickness, fatigue, acne... and bowel problems? Changes in the way the digestive system works are surprisingly common, and you don't need to be months into your pregnancy to find out. What can happen? You have probably heard of pregnancy hemorrhoids, which are really a variation on varicose veins a very frequent pregnancy complaint. Constipation, loose stools, and diarrhea are other tricky things that you may not escape when you are pregnant. Most pregnancy bowel issues are simply part of the whole "magical nine months", though they will not quite help you reach that pink cloud. There are cases in which you need to seek medical assistance, and there are many more instances in which you will want treatment to ease the discomfort that you are experiencing. What can you do about these tricky digestive issues?
The hormone progesterone causes quite a few of the pregnancy discomforts, and constipation is among them. Constipation is so common during pregnancy that you will almost certainly happen to you at one point or another. Drink at least eight glasses of water to attempt to prevent pregnancy constipation, and eat plenty of foods that are rich in fiber. Surprisingly, regular prenatal exercise also keeps the digestive system working more smoothly. If you have trouble getting to the stage where you can have a bowel movement, or you are dealing with hard and painful stools, it is clearly already too late for preventative measures. Prune juice is a wonderful natural laxative, but pregnant women should never hesitate to call their prenatal care provider about constipation. Call your doctor as soon as you can if you notice blood in your stool, particularly if it happens often.
Diarrhea may be seen as the opposite of constipation, but their causes can be remarkably similar both lack of exercise and a lack of fiber in your diet can lead to very loose stools. In most cases however, diarrhea is caused by eating the wrong foods. Diarrhea is one of the symptoms of food poisoning, but you don't have to have food poisoning to for a food to badly affect your stools. Drinking plenty of water is the main "treatment" for diarrhea. If your diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours, it is usually advisable to consult your doctor about the cause and possible cures. Pregnancy diarrhea is more than a "pain in the butt"; it can have very serious affects, and can even induce preterm labor. That is a great reason to take diarrhea seriously.
Pregnant women are especially prone to develop hemorrhoids, both because they are more at risk of developing varicosities in general, and because pregnancy constipation can put those rectal veins under additional pressure. Hemorrhoids are really unpleasant, but are not usually dangerous in any way. Topical hemorrhoid creams, including herb-based creams, are the first line of treatment. Using a stool softener can help you get rid of hemorrhoids, while many women also report that using an ice pack on the affected area offers temporary relief. In some cases, hemorrhoids are so big that they cause real problems the bleeding can be bad enough to cause serious blood loss. This is rare, but probably something you want to be aware of just in case.