After becoming pregnant, you may find that many things that once came easily for you are much more complicated—like having regular bowel movements.
If you’re experiencing constipation during pregnancy, you’re not alone. Many pregnant women suffer from constipation due to hormone changes, new supplements, nausea, and more. Fortunately, preventing constipation during pregnancy is entirely possible. If you’re already experiencing irregular bowel movements, we’re sharing a few simple lifestyle changes you can make today to help you regulate your bowels!
Is Constipation During Pregnancy Normal?
You may have been told that constipation during pregnancy is normal. We’re here to offer a differing opinion—while constipation during pregnancy is certainly common, it’s not normal, but it is treatable and preventable.
Why Are Regular Bowel Movements During Pregnancy Important?
Regular bowel movements are a great indicator of overall health, including your body’s toxicity levels, absorption abilities, and structural function. They also indicate a healthy pelvic floor structure and lower your body’s blood pressure levels, minimizing the amount of medical intervention needed during your pregnancy—resulting in optimal deliveries.
Reasons for Constipation During Pregnancy
You may experience constipation during pregnancy for a multitude of reasons. Here are a few of the most common causes for constipation:
- Nausea— Nausea you experience during pregnancy can make it challenging to stay hydrated and eat healthy, nutritious foods that promote healthy bowel movements.
- Progesterone—Early in your pregnancy, progesterone is released and causes sluggishness in your bowels, causing nutrients to move through your body more slowly.
- Supplements—Many supplements and vitamins you may be taking to keep you and your baby healthy, like iron, may lead to constipation.
- Growth—As your baby grows, you’ll experience more pressure on the organs and tissues in your body, including your intestines and rectal tissue, making it difficult to have regular bowel movements.
How to Prevent Constipation During Pregnancy
Whether you’re taking a preventative approach to prevent constipation before getting pregnant or looking for some relief from constipation you’re already experiencing, here are some helpful tips for having healthy bowel movements during your pregnancy.
1. Eat Healthy
It’s extremely common to experience nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy. And believe us—we understand if the only thing you want to eat is carbs and greasy, fried foods!
However, it’s super important to eat healthy, nutritious foods during all stages of your pregnancy, mainly to keep your bowels moving regularly. Even if you’re craving crackers or a bagel to calm your nausea, try incorporating something healthy, like a smoothie or some greens powder, into most meals to encourage regular bowel movements.
2. Stay Active
You may find it challenging to stay active during your pregnancy—especially during the first trimester, when you’re experiencing intense nausea, or during your third trimester when your growing belly is uncomfortable and makes regular movement more demanding. However, even when you’re uncomfortable during pregnancy, it’s important to incorporate daily movement in your routine to have regular bowel movements. Even when you don’t feel like doing anything, stretching and going for a walk can dramatically differentiate between being constipated and being comfortable later in the evening.
3. Drink Water
Like eating healthy, staying hydrated can be challenging during pregnancy—especially during the first trimester. Whether you’re already vomiting or not drinking water because you’re afraid of vomiting, it’s likely your body isn’t absorbing the water you need to have healthy bowel movements. If drinking water isn’t appealing to you, try to find creative ways to drink more water. Infuse your water with fruits or herbs, try drinking sparkling water or decaffeinated teas, or eat fruits and vegetables that contain lots of water, like lettuce, celery, and melons.
Keep Your Bowels & Body Healthy During Your Pregnancy with Moment of Truth Physical Therapy
If you’re struggling to have healthy bowel movements during pregnancy or are looking for ways to optimize your health before your baby arrives, we’d love to help.
Moment of Truth Physical Therapy is a team of pelvic health specialists passionate about helping you enjoy a pain-free pregnancy—including freedom from constipation! If you’d like to learn more about preventing constipation during pregnancy, contact our experienced team in Peoria, Arizona!