changes during pregnancy can cause a number of uncomfortable side effects – unfortunately
one of these side effects is constipation. During their pregnancy women often don’t
drink enough water or eat enough fiber to deal with the increasing demands
pregnancy puts on their bodies.
intake of water and fiber will work hand-in-hand to prevent constipation during
past, pregnancy’s gastrointestinal (G.I.) problems were blamed on the proximity
of the fetus to the G.I. system. Now we know that the cause is the high
fluctuation of hormones: estrogen and progesterone levels are higher, while metilin
(a hormone that propels feces through the colon) decreases. Aldosterone levels
increase the amount of water absorbed in the colon.
these hormonal changes going on, women who aren’t drinking enough water and eating
enough fiber will become constipated.
the pregnant population experiences this problem. The
solution isn’t difficult. You just have to be aware of how much water and fiber you need, and be consistent with your intake.
that’s adequate in fiber helps fight constipation by:
the expansion of bacterial populations
to the USDA’s
MyPlate nutrition guide , most women need about 28 grams of fiber per
day. Fiber is classified in a few
different ways – the kind of fiber that’s helpful for fighting constipation is
called insoluble fiber (non-starch polysaccharide). It can be found in a wide
range of foods - so don’t worry, you won’t be stuck for choice.
found in: bran, rye bread, brown rice, brown pasta, fruits, vegetables, beans,
lentils, nuts and seeds.
recommended - for everyone - that we get around 0.5 ounces of water for every
pound of body weight. Naturally, as your body weight increases during
pregnancy, so should your water intake. Pregnant women, however, tend to
consume significantly lower water than the recommended amount (especially
during their first trimester).
less water than your body needs during pregnancy doesn’t just cause hardened
stool and constipation. It also affects your baby - water restriction can cause
the amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the fetus) to decrease by as much as
8 %. This reduction in fluid reduces the amount of protective cushioning that
surrounds your baby.
and Nutrition Board recommends that pregnant women drink at least 102 ounces or
12 glasses of water daily. Seems like a lot? It is - but you need it. Don’t forget that you
can get much of your daily water intake from milk, yogurts, soups, stew,
fruits, vegetables and juices.
avoid caffeinated drinks (if you can - pregnancy craving can be difficult).
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and soft drinks all promote water excretion and can
intake of water and fiber can help prevent or, at least, ease the discomfort of
constipation during pregnancy. It reduces the amounts of laxatives you need to
use, and lets your body run with its own rhythm.
note: some women experience extremely severe constipation during pregnancy,
even when their intake of fiber and water is fairly high. If you’re
experiencing extreme, unsolvable constipation, you should consult your doctor.