When mums talk about their pregnancy, constipation often comes up! A lot of the mums I speak to suffer from it, but not all. It's yet another one of those delights that no-one tells you about beforehand! The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent it.
Why you get blocked up
During pregnancy, constipation isn't just linked to your diet, it's also down to your hormones. Your body produces extra progesterone which cleverly makes your muscles relax so your baby can grow inside you. However, this also affects your intestines, meaning food moves through more slowly. Constipation during pregnancy can also be caused by the extra pressure the uterus puts on the bowel and rectum, slowing down bowel movements.
Moving things along
When bowel movements need speeding up, diet and exercise can help set things in motion!
Getting plenty of fibre like fruit, vegetables and whole grains is important. Liquid will also help to soften your stools and make them easier to pass, so drink lots of fluids too. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day and try fruit juices (particularly prune juice).
When you're bloated and blocked up, you may not feel like exercising but about 20 to 30 minutes a day of swimming, walking, or another gentle exercise you enjoy, can help kick start your system.
You might also want to review any pregnancy vitamin supplements or iron tablets you're taking, as they can slow your bowels down too. Always double check with your doctor before making any changes. And while you're there, ask them which type of laxative is safe to take during pregnancy. Hopefully you won't need any but they'll be useful to have on stand-by as a last resort!