Pregnancy Symptoms & Complaints: Constipation

Constipation is a common pregnancy problem. Find out what causes it and how to feel better.

What causes constipation in pregnancy?

Increased levels of progesterone slow the digestive system, and extra iron from prenatal vitamins can harden the stool. In the third trimester, the pressure of the uterus on the intestines and the rectum can add to the problem. This all makes you feel bloated, gassy, and generally uncomfortable. Constipation can also lead to hemorrhoids, another common side effect of pregnancy.

What relieves constipation in pregnancy?

Eat a high-fiber diet of raw fruit, vegetables, and whole grains -- munching a couple of prunes each morning is an easy way to add fiber (if you like prunes!). Exercise regularly; a simple walk around the block will help things get moving. Drink eight glasses of water a day, including a warm, non-caffeinated beverage in the morning to stimulate digestion. Also, ask your doctor about bulking agents such as FiberCon, which add fiber and water to your digestive system, or stool softeners.

Copyright © 2001 Meredith Corporation.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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