In general, worry, anxiety, minimal physical exercise, and a low-fiber diet may cause constipation. Constipation in pregnant women is thought to occur due to hormones that relax the intestinal muscle and by the pressure of the expanding uterus on the intestines. Relaxation of the intestinal muscle causes food and waste to move slower through your system.

Constipation during pregnancy often goes hand in hand with hemorrhoids. As a result of straining to go to the toilet, constipation can aggravate or cause hemorrhoids. They often disappear by themselves shortly after the baby is born but, while present, they can be very itchy or even painful. Pelvic floor exercises can help, by improving the blood flow to the area.

Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy: - Following are the major constipation symptoms:

• More than four days between each bowel movement.
• Faeces are hard, which makes them difficult to pass.
• There is a feeling that not all the faeces are being passed.
• If the faeces are very hard, they may cause bleeding from the rectum.
• Constipation can also be a cause of lower abdominal pain.
• In extreme circumstances, a constipated bowel can result in difficulties giving birth

Prevention for Constipation During Pregnancy: -

• Drink lots of fluids: - Whilst pregnant the amount of water absorbed from your intestines into your blood increases. So it is important that you increase the amount of water you drink to keep both your intestines and the baby healthy. You really should try a drink at least 10 x 8 ounce glasses of water a day and if you are somewhere that is hot and humid then your water intake should be increased further.
• Eat a high fiber diet: Ideally, you will consume 25 to 30 grams per day of dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, breakfast cereals, whole grain breads, prunes and bran.
• Calcium and Vitamin Supplements: - It is important that you take the appropriate supplements but be aware that there are some which can cause bloating and constipation. Studies have been carried out which show the best calcium supplements for a pregnant woman to take are those which dissolve easily in the pH of vinegar such as TUMS and Cal citrate.
• Exercise routinely: - If you are inactive, you have a greater chance of constipation. Walking, swimming and other moderate exercises help the intestines work by stimulating your bowels. Schedule exercise three times a week for 20-30 minutes each.
• However there are some pregnant women who will need to take a stool softener in order to relieve their constipation and these work by decreasing the wall tension between the colon and the stool. They act mainly as a way of keeping a pregnant woman's stools soft so making their removal from a pregnant woman's body much easier.
• A great natural remedy you could use when pregnant is to alternate between hot and cold food and drinks. A simple way of doing this is to either drink cold fluid or eat ice chips and then drink a warm fluid (may be tea). Doing this will help to stimulate and tone your bowel as well as helping to release gas that has been building up in your bowel.

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