Seeing two pink lines on a pregnancy test stick can be one of the most exciting times in your life! You’re pregnant! You are now on the way to making a human! Even after having three girls, I still find the whole process fascinating. I was one of the first among my close friends to get pregnant, so I didn’t have a lot of advice being given to me (solicited or not). Thankfully, I had my sister and mother, who combined had nine children, to help pass along useful information.
Once the first trimester of nausea and food aversions fade, other common pregnancy symptoms start creeping in. One of those is constipation.
Many women do not like to talk about what happens in the washroom; but once you get pregnant no conversation with your midwife, doctor and especially your best friend is off limits! Constipation can occur for several reasons.
- You are now taking a prenatal vitamin with iron. Some moms may need additional iron over and above the prenatal supplement.
- As your baby grows, your organs are pushed out of the way to make room for the baby making it harder for waste to move through your intestines.
- An increase in hormones during pregnancy relaxes the muscles of your intestinal wall, which in turn slows the passage of waste causing harder, drier stools.
Thankfully, there are a few natural solutions that can help keep things moving.
- Iron. This essential mineral is very important pre-, during and post-pregnancy. Some women require higher amounts of iron due to diet (vegetarians and vegans). I need iron when not pregnant. When I was pregnant, I was on 60mg to keep up my iron supply. Most prenatal vitamins in Canada contain 27mg of iron and, depending on the form of iron, that can cause horrible constipation and hard, dark stools. I use a liposomal iron that is non-constipating and increases ferritin quickly (the amount of iron your body is storing). It does not cause any tummy upset either like other iron supplements. You can improve iron absorption by taking Regular Girl. It contains prebiotics which enhance the absorption of your iron supplement.
- Eat a high-fiber diet. Increasing fiber in your diet can help ease constipation. That means lots of crunchy, fresh fruits and vegetables; dried fruit; beans and whole grains. The bulk from these foods will help keep things moving. But when you are pregnant, and you only want to eat five food items on repeat, adding Regular Girl into your water is the easiest way to accomplish this.
- Drink Water. I know, I know you are peeing every 15 minutes but drinking water all day is good for more than just your bowels! Aim for eight glasses of water. You can mix in fresh fruit to give it some natural flavor.
- Exercise. Keeping active during pregnancy is very important. You do not have to join a class to accomplish this one! Pick something easy. I love walking in my neighborhood and swimming with my daughters. Both are low-impact activities and work wonders for keeping regular!
Moms and dads (future and present) post your solutions to help with constipation.