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Pregnancy induces many physiological and hormonal changes in the body. Some of these changes can be annoying as well, such as constipation. However, with the right guidance and information, handling this annoying issue is easy.
What Are The Causes Of Constipation In Pregnancy?
Before going into the details of causes of pregnancy, you should be aware of the fact that:
Women who have had prior digestive ailments, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or often suffer from constipation are more likely to develop constipation during their pregnancy. However, apart from this, the following factors can also cause constipation during pregnancy.
- Increased Progesterone: An increase in progesterone relaxes smooth muscles, including those of the digestive tract. This slows down the process of peristalsis, reducing the speed with which food moves along the small intestine.
- Pressure of the Growing Uterus: Since the uterus is expanding weekly to accommodate the growing baby, it exerts pressure on the bowel and the rectum, taking up their space as well. This hinders the normal movements of the digestive tract.
- Iron Supplements: You might be taking iron-containing prenatal vitamins if you are anemic, or even otherwise. An overdose of these supplements can cause and worsen constipation as well. However, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before opting to discontinue their use.
- Extreme Nausea and Vomiting: Due to morning sickness and nausea, you will struggle to consume food, especially the right kind and in the required amounts. This also results in decreased or inadequate bowel movements. Vomiting can also cause dehydration and excessive loss of water reduces the bulkiness of stool, making it hard to pass.
- Consuming Refined Foods: Refined and processed foods absorb liquids and form a plaster-like substance in the bowels, making them stretched. This can make your constipation worse.
- Lack of Exercise: A sluggish lifestyle during pregnancy can also contribute to developing constipation. That does not mean that you need to indulge in extreme physical activity; a few minutes walk around the park can significantly improve bowel movements.
- Anxiety: A rather uncommon but considerable cause of constipation is anxiety. A to-be mother is hormonally charged, which leads to all sorts of imbalances, including psychological stresses and worries of the responsibility of giving birth to a baby! This can lead to delayed, infrequent or preoccupied visits to the toilet, ultimately causing constipation.
Can Constipation Become Serious?
No doubt that almost every woman develops constipation during pregnancy. However, severe constipation is bad sign for the baby and the mother. Never ignore symptoms such as severe constipation, accompanied with alternating diarrhea, abdominal pain and blood or mucus in the stool. Moreover, constipation involves straining yourself for a complete bowel movement, which can lead to more problems. Passing hard stools frequently can cause and worsen hemorrhoids (swollen veins around the rectal region). Rectal bleeding and extreme discomfort can accompany them. Consult with your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of the described symptoms.