Though it may be embarrassing to talk about, having trouble moving your bowels is a common problem throughout pregnancy. Infrequent stools or hard, dry stools occur for two reasons: Pregnancy hormones slow the movement of food in the digestive system, and the iron in your prenatal vitamin can cause constipation. Do your best to address constipation because too much pushing can cause hemorrhoids or exacerbate any you already have.
Preventing constipation is one more good reason to get out and walk: Exercise often helps move things along. Occasionally prenatal vitamins will cause diarrhea, but constipation occurs far more frequently. Don't stop taking your prenatal vitamin; you and your baby need the nutrients it provides. If iron is causing constipation that doesn't improve with changes in diet and exercise, your doctor may want to prescribe vitamins with less iron.
To alleviate and prevent constipation, drink up! Aim for eight to ten glasses of water a day and eat plenty of high-fiber foods. Here are some ways to be sure you're getting the recommended 25-35 grams of fiber each day:
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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