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Relief For Constipation In Pregancy
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CONSTIPATION IN PREGNANCY

RELIEF MEASURES AND NATURAL REMEDIES

 

            This discomfort is caused mainly by the hormones of pregnancy which slow down digestion, the growing uterus which presses on the intestines, a diet made up of mostly refined highly processed carbohydrates and lots of saturated animal fat or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and not enough natural fiber and fluids, certain medications, iron supplements such as ferrous sulfate, lack of exercise, internal tension and lax abdominal muscle tone.  Here are some suggestions for dealing with this condition, and please always remember to consult with your provider before beginning any treatment or following any advice:

-         Try to eliminate from your diet refined carbohydrates like products made with white wheat, spelt, or rye flour (like white bread, noodles, cookies, cakes, pretzels, cereal, etc), white rice, canned fruits and vegetables; eat less read meat, chicken or turkey skin,  and high fat dairy foods.

-         Eat more fiber rich foods such as whole grain bread, cereal, muffins and pasta,    fresh raw or lightly steamed vegetables and fresh or dried fruits (with edible skins when possible), nuts, seed and beans;  people who shift to vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diets are often amazed by the great improvement in their bowel habits.

-         Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day.

-         Daily, mix 2 tablespoons of 100% unprocessed ground flax seed, 2-3 tablespoons wheat or oat bran in cold or hot cereal like oatmeal, applesauce or low fat yogurt; snack on prunes and figs, and add a large portion of fresh leafy greens to your lunch and dinner (lightly steamed or raw in a tossed salad).

-         Hot tea or other warmed liquids on an empty stomach or between meals does wonders (such as warmed prune juice or ½-1 lemon squeezed in water sweetened with a dash of honey or a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses, and even hot soup broth); a cup of caffeinated coffee is a good treatment if used on an occasional basis.

-         Establish regular bathroom habits and do not ignore or delay the urge to have a bowel movement; elimination normally follows the morning meal by ½ hour – plan accordingly so you do not have to rush.

-          Set aside uninterrupted unrushed bathroom time and ensure an ample supply of reading material by the toilet to enhance relaxation.

-         Support your feet on a low stool while sitting on the toilet and avoid straining which can lead to hemorrhoids.

-         Engage in a program of regular exercise (such as brisk walking, dancing or swimming) for at least ½ hour 5 days per week, and try to do specific exercises to tone your abdominal muscles a few times each week.

-         If iron supplementation is needed, use herbal sources such as Floradix iron and herbs or yellow dock root.

-          Take regular daily brief breaks to practice relaxation techniques (at least 3 times per day), such as meditation, breathing exercises and/or yoga to disengage your consciousness from thought,  increase inner calm and lessen inner tension ; upon rising, before sleep and any time you feel stressed or anxious, practice the following simple yet calming breathing exercise: exhale slowly making an audible sigh, then take a slow deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 8, and repeat for a total of 8 cycles; another wonderful breath work technique that should be practiced regularly and can be done anytime (such as while traveling, waiting in line,  before rising in the morning and before going to sleep at night, while on the toilet or bathing), and is a great way to make your breaths deeper, slower and more regular, so as to calm the nervous system, is to increase your awareness of your breathing, simply watching it  for a few minutes, then work on forcefully exhaling, using your intercostal muscles in your chest to squeeze as much air out as possible, then let your body inhale deeply but automatically, without trying to influence it, and repeat the cycle for at least several minutes or as long as you like.  These techniques are totally safe, health enhancing and easy to do, without unwanted side effects.    

-         Natural supplements that have harmless laxative effects include vitamin C 1000 mg. (which should not be taken in this amount after 36 weeks of pregnancy) and/or magnesium glycinate 500 mg.

-         Triphala, an Indian herbal capsule of 3 fruits can be taken as directed on the label 

-         If necessary, try over-the-counter bulk laxatives such as Citrcel,  Metamucil , malt soup extract or powdered psyllum seed husks from the health food store (take 1 tablespoon stirred well in a large glass of water or juice and follow with another glass of water no more than once daily); if your bowel movements are very hard and straining try a stool softener like docusate sodium (Colace) 100 mg. 1-3 times per day.

-         Avoid reliance on enemas, laxatives and colonics, as they can lead to dependency, vitamin deficiencies, and abdominal cramping among other problems, and may stimulate labor prematurely; if you are desperate and not pregnant, you can try a natural laxative like rhubarb root, commonly found in the health food store.

-         Avoid smoking and other stimulant drugs, as well as addictive regular coffee drinking.

-         Other alternatives that are especially helpful if none of the above suggestions work include biofeedback, acupuncture and homeopathy; ask us for referrals for experienced practitioners. 

 

      Please consult again with your provider if  none of the above remedies prove to be helpful, if you have not had a bowel movement in over 4 days and/or you have severe or unusual pain, your constipation is alternating with diarrhea, you have rectal bleeding, or your stools are the color of old blood.

Homebirth With Love
Located In Suffern, New York
(845) 641-5058
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