Constipation During Pregnancy

What are the signs on constipation?

Signs of constipation include many days between bowel movements, small hard stools that are difficult to pass, and lower belly pain.

Why do pregnant women get constipated?

Some of the hormones produced during pregnancy act to slow the movement of the bowel and this can cause you to get constipated. Iron supplements can also make some women get constipated.

What can I do to prevent this?

Eat a diet rich in high-fiber foods such as fresh or dried fruits and vegetables plus high-fiber cereal. If you suddenly eat a lot more fiber, you may get bloating, diarrhea, gas pressure. If this happens, try increasing the amount slowly over a week or more.
Also, drinking enough water (at least 8 glasses per day) and getting regular exercise can all help to prevent constipation.

Also, drinking enough water (at least 8 glasses per day) and getting regular exercise can all help to prevent constipation.

What can I do if I become constipated?

The first thing to try is to increase the fiber in your diet, drink a lot of water, and exercise regularly. You can also try prunes and prune juice, as these things help to speed up elimination. If these things do not help, see the safe medications page during pregnancy. If you are unable to pass a bowel movement, have severe abdominal pain or rectal bleeding – you should contact your physician.

Chart of Foods and Amount of Fiber

FoodPortionDietary FiberSolubleInsoluble
Apple1 medium2.90.92.0
Orange1 medium2.01.30.7
Banana1 medium2.00.61.4
Broccoli1 stalk2.71.31.4
Carrots1 large2.91.31.6
Tomato1 small0.80.10.7
Potato1 medium1.81.00.7
Corn2/3 cup1.60.21.4
All-Bran1/2 cup9.01.47.6
Fiber One1/2 cup14.01.013.0
Oat Bran1/2 cup4.42.22.2
Cornflakes1 cup0.50.00.5
Rolled Oats3/4 cup cooked3.01.31.7
Whole-wheat Bread1 slice1.40.31.1
White Bread1 slice0.40.30.1
Macaroni1 cup cooked0.80.50.3
Green Peas2/3 cup cooked3.90.63.3
Kidney Beans1/2 cup cooked6.51.64.9
Pinto Beans1/2 cup cooked5.91.24.7
Lentils2/3 cup cooked4.50.63.9

Data from Anderson JW, Bridges SR: Dietary fiber content of selected foods. Am J Clin Nutr;47:440-7, 1988 and Bowes AD: Bowes and Church’s Food values of portions commonly used. 14th ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Copyright: Advanced Medical Systems Inc. 2003

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