Constipation is a Common Problem During Pregnancy…
This may be due to:
- An increase in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means that food passes through the intestines more slowly.
- Your expanding uterus, takes up valuable space normally occupied by your bowel, which may also add to congestion.
- Also the iron-containing prenatal vitamins you’re taking may also contribute – but stopping them is a bad idea, for you and your baby.
8 Tips To Try To Ease The Problem…
- Pelvic Floor Relaxation
- Inadequate pelvic floor relaxation and release with bowel emptying is one of the major causes of constipation.
- During bowel emptying the pelvic floor muscles provide a firm platform of support.
- Regular pelvic floor exercises are essential to improve pelvic floor support. (See page on pelvic floor exercises)
- Pelvic Floor relaxation is promoted by bulging the low abdomen forward with relaxed deep breathing.
2. Ideal Toilet Techniques:
- When you first feel the urge to empty your bowels, do so at the earliest convenient time.
- Allow sufficient time to empty you bowel, try not to rush.
- Sometimes the simple action of taking 5-6 deep breaths can help relax the pelvic floor and facilitate bowel opening.
- If you find that after 2 or 3 minutes of relaxed breathing and sitting on the toilet that your bowels do not open then get up and return to your daily activities and return to the toilet when you feel the next urge.
- Sitting on the toilet for long periods without an urge can increase the likelihood of straining the pelvic floor.
3. Ideal Position For Bowel Movement
- Sit on the toilet seat, never hover above the seat.
- Place a small stool under your feet to mimic a squat position.
- If you are out and about and you have no stool lift your heel off the ground. The key is that you want your knees higher than your hips.
- Lean forward at your hips with a straight back.
- Place your elbows on your knees.
- Make your waist wide and bulge your abdominals out as this opens up the pelvic floor.
- Push down and back into your back passage.
- Breath out or make a noise as you push out.
- Don’t push too hard. (Scale of 1-10, push at 5-7).
- This technique relaxes and opens the anal sphincter to allow the bowel movement to pass.
- Lift and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles when finished.
- Regular exercise helps to stimulate bowel movements.
- Low impact exercise such as pre/post natal Pilates, walking and cycling is ideal.
- Be mindful of avoiding exercises with the potential to overload and strain the pelvic floor.
If your stool is too hard, it will be very difficult to pass!
Good stool consistency requires:
- Adequate Fibre intake (30grams/day), don’t make the mistake of consuming too much fibre as this can overload the system.
- Gradually introduce whole-grain foods.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (raw or lightly cooked preferably with skin left on), dried fruits.
- Greens (broccoli, spinach, green beans, cabbage).
- Small Regular meals: Big meals can overtax your digestive tract. Try eating six mini-meals a day rather than three large ones.
- Eight full glasses of fluids (water, vegetable or fruit juice, broth etc.) each day.
- Warm liquids such as, hot water and lemon
- Ask your GP about adding high-powered fiber to your diet, such as wheat-bran or psyllium.
- Found in yogurts that contain active cultures — stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better, aiding the digestive tract in its efforts to keep things moving.
How can Personal Health Help Mums to be?
- Medically Led Fitness 30 Min Classes-Modified by our Physiotherapists for pregnancy
- Pre Natal Pilates & Yoga classes led by Chartered physiotherapists and Midwives: see here for schedules and prices:
Book an appointment with one of our Consultant Dietitians:
Call us to find out more.
Phone: 01 496 4002