How to treat constipation in pregnancy
Constipation is a condition where bowel movements are reduced or be difficult to defecate for long periods. Constipation is generally interpreted as a condition of defecation less than 3 times a week. Constipation usually heals if you change your style your life, but chronic constipation is more difficult to treat and usually be a symptom of another medical condition.
Constipation is normal if it occurs occasionally and will heal on its own, usually due to food, stress, or environmental differences, but it can also be a sign of a more serious problem. However, usually people who have a risk of suffering from constipation are elderly, obese people, pregnant women, and people who sit too often.
What are the causes of constipation?
We know that constipation is a condition that occurs because of dirt or feces move more slowly than normal condition so that the dirt becomes harder and drier. Some causes of constipation are:
- Lack of fiber consumption or enough water
- Lack of movement activities or too long sitting
- Being stressed or experiencing environment changes
- Certain diseases that can cause constipation such as diabetes, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid)
- Blockage in the intestine that can be caused due to colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, or anal fissure.
- Some drugs can cause constipation such as pain medications, antihistamines, and antidepressants.
Here are several signs & symptoms that indicate constipation:
- Difficulty defecating
- Dry stool or urinate
- The frequency of defecating is less than 3 times a week
The stomach feels full
- Having stomachache
- Feeling dissatisfied after defecating or feeling something is blocked.
- While chronic constipation occurs if you have one or more of the above symptoms and it has been running for at least 3 months. Constipation is not a serious condition unless constipation is caused by another serious health condition. Usually, constipation can be cured by changing lifestyle.
Constipation in pregnant women
The progesterone hormone produced by the mother’s body during pregnancy loosens the muscles to become more flexible, including the muscles in the digestive tract. As a result, food that enters the intestine is digested more slowly than usual. Constipation in early pregnancy is usually due to the composition of too high iron and calcium in the mother’s body. Consumption of iron in high doses, however, can make symptoms of constipation worse. Mothers who rarely exercise or have a bed rest or so limited activities also tend to experience constipation. Another cause is pressure in the rectum due to the enlarged uterus to accommodate the size of the baby. Apart from physical causes, constipation during pregnancy can also occur due to stress during pregnancy.
When the body has difficulty in removing food scraps, food decaying occurs in the body. Decaying of this food is then absorbed by the blood through the intestinal wall and can harm the mother and baby conceived.
Constipation resolving for pregnant women
Here are several steps you may take to resolving constipation especially when you are pregnant.
- Nutritious and rich fiber food consuming
High fiber food will help a lot in feces processing. This way is effective to avoid constipation and also help expedite the defecating process for pregnant women. Consuming high fiber food such as wheat, brown rice, beans, fresh fruit, and vegetables every day is a good choice.
- Drink lots of water
Drink at least 2 liters of water a day for helping the metabolism process. For pregnant women, you can drink water regularly every day to help the urine clear. By having clear urine, it indicates the level of water is enough in the body. If you are bored with water, you can replace it with fruit juice. But try to keep drinking lots of water, especially after waking up to help smooth the fecal softening process.
- Using laxatives (suppository)
Usually, the Laxatives used is in the form of gels that are inserted into the anus. This is now commonly found in pharmacies. The drug is far safer for pregnant women than drugs taken orally. However, consult a doctor before using any medication to treat constipation during pregnancy.
Although constipation is a normal thing for pregnant women, it’s good for pregnant women to keep from getting constipated. Here are ways to prevent constipation:
- Regular exercise
Walking lightly, pedaling a static bicycle, and yoga can reduce symptoms of constipation and keep the mother’s body healthy.
- Do not hold back if you feel dying for both urinating and defecating.
Usually, after eating, the belly of the pregnant woman will immediately be active. So, take time to go to the bathroom after eating if you need to. Do not hold back if you feel dying for urinating even defecating.
- Replacing pregnancy vitamins
If the mother has constipation because of a not anemic and high-dose pregnancy multivitamin, you should ask your doctor or midwife to replace it with a drug that has a lower iron dose.
- Take probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria in the body found in food. Probiotics can facilitate digestion and reduce bad bacteria in the intestine. These good bacteria are considered safe to be consumed during pregnancy. Therefore, probiotics can be an option to help relieve constipation and diarrhea in pregnant women. Probiotics can be obtained by consuming yogurt and drinks containing probiotics.
You should not use drugs to get rid of constipation you feel. Mothers can do some simple exercise. More movement can reduce constipation since good movement certainly has a good effect on digestion and intestines. Besides, do not forget to fulfill fiber needs in the body. Here are several foods that can relieve constipation for pregnant women;
Papaya contains high fiber and vitamins. Papaya also contains the enzyme papain which serves to soften hard stools.
Broccoli contains lots of fiber and water, so it is very good to be consumed by pregnant women. To get the best benefits of broccoli, you should not cook broccoli for too long.
Besides having a high enough vegetable protein content, peas also contain fiber and folic acid which are good for the health and the growth of the baby.
Raisins have very high fiber content, so they are good for pregnant women. Raisins can also help increase the hemoglobin level for pregnant women.
Besides beneficial for removing heat, cincau is very good for dealing with digestive problems in pregnant women. Cincau is also useful for cleaning the digestive tract, so the mother can avoid serious diseases striking the digestive tract.
Constipation can occur not only because the body lacks fiber, but also due to lack of fluids. Mothers can consume watermelon because it contains high enough minerals and water. Eating watermelon can help improve movement in the intestine and improve the digestive system of the mother.
Constipation or difficulty defecating experienced by pregnant women is usually not serious and can be overcome in ways that have been suggested. However, sometimes constipation can also be a sign of other more serious health problems. If the mother has constipation followed by abdominal pain, diarrhea or discharge of mucus and blood during bowel movements, go to the midwife or doctor immediately. Constipation makes the mother push harder to remove the clot stool. This can also trigger hemorrhoid problems. Usually, the hemorrhoids will disappear after the baby is born, but if the hemorrhoid condition is accompanied by bleeding in the anus, it is better to see the doctor for further examination.