Pregnancy Complications - Constipation
A very common pregnancy complication is constipation. Constipation means bowel movements are hard, dry and difficult to pass and if left untreated can lead to piles and/ or anal fissures. It can also result in abdominal pain or discomfort.
Unfortunately, constipation in pregnancy is very common and may be caused by pregnancy hormones relaxing the intestinal muscle. This causes waste products to pass more slowly than normal through the intestines which leads to constipation. Pregnancy constipation is also believed to be related to the pressure of the growing uterus on the intestine.
Stress and anxiety about pregnancy and childbirth can also cause constipation so it is important to try not to let yourself get too stressed if you are prone to constipation.
Many pregnant women take iron supplements during pregnancy which can also be attributed to constipation; if you think your constipation may be due to iron supplements you can ask your gp to recommend an alternative, or you can try to increase your natural iron intake by eating an iron rich diet.
You can help to prevent and treat constipation by taking a few simple steps such as eating plenty of fruit and leafy green vegetables every day, particularly citrus fruit, prunes, grapes, carrots and spinach, by increasing your water intake, eating breakfast cereals high in dietary fibre and taking gentle regular exercise. You can also ease constipation by using over the counter remedies, for example, a stool softener like lactulose. Ask your gp or pharmacist to recommend a product suitable for you in pregnancy.
More Pregnancy Complications
- Gestational Diabetes
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Placenta previa
- Cholestasis (itching during pregnancy)
- Morning sickness
- Varicose veins
- Stretch marks
- Depression (pre-natal depression)
- Childbed fever (puerperal sepsis)
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