Constipation during pregnancy is commonplace, affecting at least half of all pregnant women.  Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid constipation.

There are several things that can cause constipation during pregnancy.  Your body will produce hormones that relax the muscles surrounding the gastrointestinal tract. This causes food to pass more slowly through your digestive system. This slowed intestinal motility produces constipation.  The growing baby also crowds your bowels, which will narrow your intestinal passageways.  Your doctor may prescribe Iron pills to enrich your blood supply, and these can cause constipation or worsen existing constipation.  Your body also requires more fluids while you are pregnant, so insufficient fluid intake can produce constipation.  Finally, not consuming enough dietary fiber during pregnancy can cause constipation.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can combat constipation during pregnancy.  First, you should make sure you’re getting enough dietary fiber.  You can get these by eating more vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, whole grain cereals and breads.  10 to 15 grams per day of dietary fiber is recommended.

Just a few minutes of light exercise can stimulate movement in the bowels.  Try taking a short walk, which will also increase your cardiovascular health.  Additionally, walking or swimming for 20 to 30 minutes a day 3 times a week will not only help with digestion, but increase your general wellbeing and fitness as you approach the critical time of your delivery.

Make sure you are drinking enough liquids.  While there are no specific rules, you should aim for at least 6 8-oz glasses every day.  Drink as much water as you like.  Fruit juice or decaffeinated tea or coffee is a good choice to supplement the water.

Finally, never avoid the call of nature.  As soon as you feel the need, you should relieve yourself.

Dealing with constipation during pregnancy