9. Eat Smaller Meals
When suffering from constipation, try breaking up your daily food intake into smaller meals. Instead of having two or three large meals, eat five or six small meals throughout the day.
Smaller and more frequent meals will allow the stomach to digest food without having to work overtime. Also, it gives time for the food to transfer to the intestine and colon smoothly.
On the other hand, eating large meals can overload your stomach and your digestive system will find it hard to digest the food. Moreover, because of your hormones, expanding uterus and prenatal vitamins, the digestion process is already working slower than usual.
Eating smaller meals also helps combat heartburn as well as bloating and indigestion.
10. Do Kegel Exercises
Doing Kegel or pelvic floor exercises can help keep you regular when practiced regularly. Pelvic floor muscle strength is important for both bowel and bladder control.
Chronic straining during bowel movements due to constipation can lead to weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. They need to be strengthened to prevent accidental bowel leakage.
Kegel exercises also help strengthen your muscles for a vaginal delivery.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles (the ones you use to stop the flow of urine in midstream). Make sure you do not move your legs, buttocks or abdominal muscles.
- Hold for a count of 5.
- Then, relax the muscles for 5 seconds.
- Repeat up to 10 times for 1 complete set.
- Aim for doing at least 3 sets a day.
- Listen to your body and act promptly whenever you need to use the bathroom.
- Avoid taking laxative pills during pregnancy because they might stimulate uterine contractions and cause dehydration. However, some women may have to take stool softeners.
- Do not take mineral oils to treat constipation, as they reduce nutrient absorption.
- Eating dry fruits like dates, raisins, and prunes can help treat your pregnancy constipation.
- Start any meal with raw fruit, a vegetable, or salad.
- Avoid straining and sitting for long periods of time.
- Do not consume caffeine in excess, as it has a diuretic effect that compounds constipation.
- Constipation in pregnancy: prevalence, symptoms, and risk factors. Obstetrics and gynecology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18055731. Published December 2007. Accessed March 09, 2018.
- Treating constipation during pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3418980/. Published August 2012. Accessed March 09, 2018.
- Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond. The Journal of Perinatal Education. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595116/. Published 2002. Accessed March 09, 2018.