A common term used to describe pregnancy and childbirth is "miraculous". In preparation for birth, a pregnant woman's body changes in amazing ways. This also involves the common problem of constipation. This makes a woman feel less than miraculous. This article discusses the problem of constipation and offers some solutions.
Different people have different definitions of constipation. Some people feel bloated, or pass small, rabbit-like stools. Others have to strain when having a bowel movement. Medically, constipation is known as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.
Constipation is very common during pregnancy and in the days after delivering a baby. Some women have very painful bowel movements when they have had an episiotomy (torn rectal tissue that has been repaired). These women consciously, or unconsciously, hold on to their stool. Other women who have had a caesarean section delivery can have her bowel movement temporary paralyzed. This is known as an ileus.
Discussed below some helpful hints to alleviate or prevent constipation. The first tip is to exercise daily. Exercise is very helpful in preventing constipation. Even light to moderate walking helps to loosen bowels and will help to make you feel less bloated.
Drink lots of fluids. During pregnancy, water absorbed from your intestine into your blood is increased. Pregnant women need to drink an increased amount of water to keep their intestines and their babies healthy. At the minimum, you will need ten, 8-ounce glasses of water. If it is hot and/or humid, you may need even more fluid. Keeping your body hydrated with water will help to prevent constipation.
Ensure that you taking the appropriate calcium and vitamin supplements. Some supplements cause bloating and constipation. Studies have shown that the best calcium supplements are those that easily dissolve in the pH of vinegar. These include the brands TUMS and Calcitrate. Antacids that have aluminum are very constipating so be sure to avoid those.
Prenatal vitamins, specifically formulated for pregnant women, are tolerated best by the digestive tract. These cause less nausea and bloating. Prenatal vitamins have iron, folate and B vitamins that are essential when you are pregnant.
Some women need to take a stool softener to relieve constipation. These work as a surfactant to decrease the wall tension between the colon and the stool. These act mainly to keep the stool soft for natural and easy passage. An important attribute is that the stool softener is not habit forming.
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A natural remedy is to alternate between hot and cold food and beverages. A simple option is to drink a cold fluid or to eat ice chips and then drink a warm fluid, such as tea. Many pregnant women prefer decaffeinated tea in this case. Alternating between hot and cold helps to stimulate and tone the bowel. Another good feature of this exercise is that this helps to pass gas.
Some women must remain on bed rest for all or part of their pregnancy. If this is the case, an incentive spirometer (a device that is used by inhaling deeply, which raises balls or creates bubbles depending on the model) is mandatory to keep your lungs clear and to keep your bowels moving. The medical apparatus cannot be over used. It is generally advised to use it every ten minutes.
Hopefully these tips will help with constipation during pregnancy. It is important to consult your doctor regarding your constipation. She can investigate further to see if a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, has developed during pregnancy and cause your constipation. Chances are it is just a nagging problem that comes with your pregnancy and your constipation will clear up post partum.
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