Constipation During Pregnancy

Constipation is unfortunately a common issue many women deal with during pregnancy, as if you didn’t have enough on your plate.  Constipation during pregnancy is not caused by any one factor: iron, hormones, and pressure on bowels caused by the growing uterus; all result in increased constipation during pregnancy.  The good news is that there are several ways you can get pregnancy constipation relief.

Iron-induced pregnancy constipation

While iron supplementation may result in constipation, it is critically important during pregnancy both to the mother and growing baby.  A woman’s blood supply increases by 25 to 50% during pregnancy and the body requires additional iron to grow the baby and make placenta. Iron is a key component in making hemoglobin, myoglobin, and collagen. The CDC recommends women who are pregnant or nursing to supplement iron by up to 30 mg per day.

Iron-induced constipation may be somewhat mitigated by working your way up to a full dose, breaking up the prenatal vitamin into 2 or more servings throughout the day, supplementing with vitamin C, or drinking more water.  Iron-induced constipation may be avoided by taking a chelated iron supplement; it may be somewhat more expensive but studies have shown it can reduce nausea and constipation.  Mommi uses a chelated iron in its Prenatal Protein Powder to help its customers mitigate constipation during pregnancy.

What can I take for constipation while pregnant

While constipation can be tough to deal with, especially when pregnant, there are several ways you can remedy constipation by making small changes to your diet.  You may want to consider adding prunes, fiber, plums, flax seed, molasses, or castor or other vegetable oil to your diet.  You should also increase your water intake and consider drinking mint or ginger (may also help with nausea) tea.

Other constipation remedies

You may want to try stretching or other light exercise to help improve pregnancy constipation.  Moving, especially your core muscles, can help push things through your system and minimize blockages.

What happens if I don’t get enough iron during pregnancy?

Iron deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality.  Symptoms of iron deficiency during pregnancy include chest pain, hair loss, dizziness, weakness/fatigue, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, have brittle/spoon shaped nails, and trouble concentrating.  Be sure your prenatal vitamin contains an appropriate level of iron or that you are supplementing your nutritional diet to avoid issues, both to you and your baby, related to iron deficiency.  See your doctor if you suspect you have an iron deficiency.

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