Prenatal vitamins are an essential part of nutrition during pregnancy and MayoClinic.com recommends them for all pregnant women. Some individuals do experience constipation and gastrointestinal distress from prenatal vitamins. Don't quit taking your vitamins but do work with your doctor to find a different vitamin or a regimen change that relieves your symptoms.
Iron in prenatal vitamins is usually the culprit of constipation. During pregnancy, your iron requirements increase as you produce additional blood volume. Supplemental iron helps prevent iron deficiency anemia, a condition that causes weakness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and poor circulation. Anemia can be dangerous as it places you at risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight and infant mortality.
Some women experience nausea, vomiting or constipation in response to iron in their prenatal vitamin. However, even in the absence of iron supplements, these symptoms are common during early pregnancy due to changing hormone levels. If your prenatal vitamin seems to contribute to your symptoms, talk to your doctor before making changes.
MayoClinic.com advises pregnant women to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation. Increase the amount of fiber in your diet and stay physically active, as long as your health care provider has given you the green light to continue exercising. If your symptoms also include nausea or vomiting, try taking the prenatal at bedtime or after a meal.
According to Babycenter, prenatal supplements with more than 30mg of iron cause more side effects and constipation. In this case, talk to your doctor about switching to a formulation that is lower in iron. Your doctor may also recommend a stool softener to relieve constipation.