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Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy

Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy

The implication of constipation in pregnancy

Bodily discomforts which are brought by the hormonal activity during pregnancy are affecting the pregnant mothers. It is because of the physiologic response to the products of conception. The constipation during pregnancy is considered as a normal physical discomfort of pregnant women due to the influence of hormones that slows the digestion process. Hence, there are several factors that can increase the occurrence of constipation during pregnancy. This article will provide information regarding the causes and common interventions which are related to pregnancy and constipation.

Constipation in early pregnancy


As pregnancy progresses, the growing uterus presses against the bowel and slows movement of the food bolus (peristalsis), resulting into constipation during pregnancy and sometimes flatulence. Prescribed oral iron supplements contribute to constipation. Reinforce the need for the supplements to build fetal iron stores but also help the pregnant mother to find a method to relieve or prevent constipation.

Tips on what to do for constipation

Advise the pregnant women not to use home remedies, such as mineral oil and enemas. Mineral oil interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) which are necessary for fetal growth. Enemas might initiate labor through their action. Over the counter laxatives as well as all drugs are contraindicated during pregnancy unless specifically prescribed or authorized by the pregnant mother’s care provider.

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If the pregnant mother experience excessive symptoms of constipation, recommend that she avoid gas-forming foods, such

Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy
Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy

as cabbage and beans. In addition, if dietary measures and regular bowel evacuation fail, a stool softener (such as docusate sodium [Colace] and evacuation suppositories (such as glycerin) may be prescribed.

Symptomology of constipation

Constipation is the medical term used for inability or difficulty of passing out fecal materials. This is very common for pregnant mother because the uterus compresses the bowel which hinders the movement of the digested food. Aside from this rationale, pregnant women who fail to eat foods rich in fiber or drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water can contribute to the pregnancy and constipation theory. Below is the list of clinical symptoms of constipation:

  • Intense flatulence (passing out of flatus);
  • Inability to pass out stool;
  • Hardened stool (solid fecal materials);
  • Passage of Fecal seepage;
  • Feeling of fullness.


Recommendations for pregnancy constipation relief

One of the best methods used by the health care provider to pregnant women who suffers from constipation is through intensive health education. When teaching the pregnant women about preventing constipation they need to understand the physiologic response that occurs between pregnancy and constipation. A full understanding of this normal response will minimize the anxiety and stress level of pregnant mothers especially those who are first time mommies. Aside from this, they also need to:

  • Encourage them to evacuate bowels regularly;
  • Adviser them to increase the amount of roughage in their diet by eating raw fruits, bran, and vegetables;
  • Instruct them to drink extra amounts of water.
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Another way on how to relieve constipation is to prevent them from drinking caffeinated products such as coffee. Increasing their fiber intake by eating papaya and pineapple will also help them to prevent the occurrence of symptoms of constipation. Other pregnant mother teachings on how to relieve constipation includes encouraging the pregnant mother to engage in moderate activities on daily basis.

Constipation is not a serious problem but if this continues to occur even after the delivery of the baby, then it is a must for pregnant mother to consult their doctor about the condition. They will undergo several tests or examinations that are related

Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy
Symptoms of Constipation During Pregnancy

to their bowel movement. This includes proper evaluation of the gastrointestinal tract using colonoscope.

Most of the time, the constipation diminishes after the baby is born. However, in some cases that constipation is not properly treated can lead to the occurrence of hemorrhoids. This will be the complication of prolong constipation and it produces agonizing pain and discomfort to pregnant mothers.

Reinforcement about how to relieve constipation will help the pregnant mother to bear the discomfort. Avoiding valsalva maneuver is observed. This type of maneuver allows the pregnant mother to strain when defecating. This is not advisable because it can cause serious problem in the later stage of pregnancy. The focus of the treatment will depend on the ability of the pregnant mother to modify her eating habit and daily activities.

Modification of foods eaten by the pregnant mother will help them to prevent the occurrence of constipation during pregnancy. Hence, the partner and other members of the family must be involved for the course of treatment because this will serve as the support system of the entire family to the pregnant mother. It will help the mother to bear with the debilitating discomfort brought by pregnancy and constipation.

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Delores C. West is a compassionate healthcare professional with a focus on women's health and wellness. As a certified nurse-midwife, Delores is dedicated to providing comprehensive care to women throughout their reproductive journey. With a warm and nurturing approach, she empowers her patients to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. Delores's expertise in women's health makes her a trusted resource for individuals seeking personalized and compassionate care. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more about her commitment to women's health and wellness.