Constipation can be common in pregnancy. There are several reasons why, including higher levels of the hormone progesterone which relaxes your digestive tract making food pass through it more slowly. Another factor is the pressure from your growing uterus, and also constipation can be a side effect from taking iron supplements.
How do I get things moving?
Make sure you have plenty of fibre and fluids in your diet. It’s a good idea to keep active on a daily basis and go for a walk, a swim or even try some yoga - regular exercise can help get your bowels moving.
Try some of these fibre friendly foods:
- Cereal – opt for high fibre varieties like natural muesli or bran based cereals. Porridge is always a good choice too. Check out the nutritional value listed on the packets, look for cereals with at least six grams of fibre per 100 grams.
- Wholegrain breads – aim for around the same amount of fibre as your cereal, at least six grams or more per 100 grams is ideal.
- Fruit and veges – they’re full of nutrients, and they’re a great source of fibre. Remember lots of the goodness is in the skin, so eat those when you can, just make sure they’re washed thoroughly. Kiwifruit are a good addition to your diet, as are frozen peas.
- Wholemeal – choosing wholemeal types of pasta or switching to brown rice instead of white can make a difference.
- Nuts – a handful of nuts or seeds is a handy source of fibre.
- Legumes – dried peas, beans and lentils. You can use these in soups, casseroles or even salads, be creative!
Don’t force the matter
If you find you’re still having problems it’s a good idea to chat to your doctor or lead maternity carer.