7 Tips to Help with Pregnancy Constipation
Pregnancy constipation can be as uncomfortable to talk about as it is to experience, but there’s no reason to go around feeling like, well, poop. There are some proactive steps you can take (that go beyond probiotics, though those are good, too!) to help move things along.
The average American consumes 13 grams of fiber a day – way less than the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommended 25 grams a day for women ages 19-50. And if you’re feeling blocked up, try ramping that up to 30 grams daily, ideally with naturally occurring fiber found in fruit, veggies, beans and whole grains.
One of the most common causes of constipation is dehydration. When your body isn’t getting enough water from outside sources, it will start to sip from the well of your colon. Not dissimilar to a toddler “just taking a sip” from your water bottle, it can quickly suck it dry resulting in major digestion issues. While the amount of water you need to stay hydrated varies for each individual, a good general rule of thumb during pregnancy is 8-12 glasses of water a day (64-96 ounces.)
3. EAT REGULARLY
Regular eating can help you stay regular. Five-to-six smaller yet nutrient-rich meals throughout the day aids in preventing both constipation and nausea – and eating breakfast within the first hour of being awake can kick things off in the right direction from the get-go.
4. MOVE YOUR BODY
Yoga, walking, interpretive dance – whatever your low-impact exercise of choice, moving your body often helps stimulate movement in the intestinal tract. Even just 15-20 minutes a day can make a huge difference in multiple areas of health. On the ‘what kinds of exercise are okay?’ front, doctors typically follow the adage, “if you were doing it before pregnancy, you can do it during pregnancy,” but be sure to consult your medical team for individualized recommendations/assessment.
Magnesium has loads of benefits, from supporting muscle and nerve function to energy production and protein synthesis. It can help balance things out in your bowels as well as relieve leg cramps (cue: gospel choir hallelujah.)
6. ADD IN SOME VITAMIN C
Iron supplements can help in a lot of areas, but they can also lead to stomach problems if not properly absorbed. Pairing your iron pill with vitamin C-rich foods like oranges or strawberries will increase absorption and help prevent iron-induced constipation, heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea.
7. STOOL SOFTENERS
If all else fails, talk to your doctor about recommended stool softeners. Bonus: this is a fun one to send your partner to the store for!