Constipation commonly plagues pregnant women, who are already uncomfortable enough. The American Pregnancy Association notes that nearly half of pregnant women suffer from constipation sometime in their pregnancy.
Constipation can be caused by worry, anxiety and lifestyle factors, but the biological reason, according to the APA, is that muscles in the intestines relax during pregnancy because of pressure from your growing uterus. This causes food and waste products to creep through the digestive system more slowly than normal.
Pregnant women don't have to suffer from constipation along with other pregnancy discomforts.
Boost Fiber Intake
Insufficient fiber is one of the biggest reasons that anyone, including pregnant women, becomes constipated. Make sure to get at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day from foods—work in plenty of prunes, bran, whole grain foods, cereal, fruits and vegetables.
Regular exercise is a good way to relieve constipation during pregnancy. As long, of course, as your doctor has said it's OK for you to exercise. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise at least three days each week. Walking and swimming are easy on the body during pregnancy.
Drink Enough Water
It's important to drink a lot of fluids each day (water is best). You'll need to be sure to drink at least 10 to 12 cups of fluid per day, particularly if you are increasing fiber in your diet. If you're exercising a lot and sweating out a lot of fluids, you'll need even more to drink each day.
There's no reason to suffer from constipation, and if these natural remedies don't work, you can try some over-the-counter products. Talk to your obstetrician about what's recommended, but products like Metamucil and stool softeners can help to relieve constipation. You can also cut back on any iron supplements that you're taking, as iron is known to contribute to constipation. Always talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication, but typically constipation-easing products are considered safe for pregnant women.