Pregnancy hormones make the bowels sluggish and constipation is very common. In addition, the pressure of your uterus on the bowels can affect your bowel movements. Adding iron supplements to this equation does not help , so try liquid vegetable iron supplements as an alternative.
Constipation can cause lethargy and headaches during pregnancy, so avoiding it will add to your feeling of well-being.
Just before birth your bowel will flatten out to make room as the baby’s head moves down into the pelvis . Therefore try and ensure you are not constipated coming up to your delivery date as it can add to discomfort during labour. If you are constipated, tackle it in the last weeks of pregnancy, and talk to your carer about the possibility of using a laxative to empty your bowel in advance of labour.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat plenty of fibre-rich food such as wholemeal bread, bran-based cereals, jacket potatoes and brown rice.
- Eat five helpings of fruit and/or vegetables daily.
- Take a pregnancy-approved probiotic supplement, or at the very least eat probiotic-enriched yoghurts.
- Relax and take your time when trying to open your bowels. Avoid straining. Placing your feet on a low stool can make bowel movements easier and less painful.
- Eat prunes – they really are an excellent laxative. Or try warm prune juice – or lemon juice in hot water - half an hour before breakfast.
- Eat dried apricots, figs and dates for snacks.
- Eat lots of fresh greens such as lettuce/kale/spinach.
- Eat lots of linseeds. Sprinkle on yoghurt and porridge, or bake into bread.
- Drink lots of pure fruit juice (not from concentrate).
- Take lots of exercise, such as walking, or swimming.
- Eating three kiwi fruits in succession can get the response you require!
- Take a laxative suitable for pregnancy if necessary.