March 24, 2014

Constipation During Pregnancy - Home Remedies

It's quite common to experience constipation during pregnancy. It may occur as early as in the first trimester and may persist up to the last trimester. It can cause a lot of discomfort like abdominal bloating, flatulence and intestinal pain. Straining to pass the stools may also lead to piles and haemorrhoids. So if you are experiencing constipation during pregnancy, do not ignore this problem as an inevitable pregnancy issue but try to alleviate the symptoms naturally without taking recourse to medicines. In any case, it's not safe to take any drug without your consulting your doctor. To ease the symptoms, you will have to make some changes in your food and lifestyle, along with a few home-remedies.


Causes of Constipation in Pregnancy
One of the reasons that contribute to constipation during pregnancy is because of the hormonal changes. The hormone progesterone is produced in increased quantities and this hormone tends to relax the intestines. This hormone causes the food to stay longer in your body so that more nutrients can be absorbed by you and the developing fetus.As the baby grows in your womb, the uterus exerts pressure on the rectum and this makes the bowel movements harder resulting in constipation. Another reason that induces constipation is the intake of iron tablets usually prescribed by the doctor.
 

Measures To Relieve Pregnancy Constipation
* Include plenty of fibre in your diet. Fiber absorbs water and softens your stools and speeds their passage through the intestine. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like whole grain cereal,legumes, dried fruits, vegetables, fresh fruits and oatmeal. You can have high-fibre cereal or bran for breakfast if you wish. Or else, you can prepare a simple porridge from oats and have it regularly. Boil half a glass of milk in a pan. Soak 2-3 tbsp of quick cooking oats in it and when the milk comes to a boil add the soaked oats into it and then let it come to a boil. Have it once a day.
 

* Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. You should give priority to whole fruits rather than juices. Juices aren't deemed healthy and they do not contain fibre and are only calorie laden. (Also read Is Your Food Missing Dietary Fibre?)

* Consume lots of fluids. When you are consuming lot of fiber, it's highly necessary that you should increase your fluid, otherwise it may worsen your constipation. Fluids allow the smooth passage of food through yoru digestive system and keeping yourself adequately hydrated will help fight constipation. Yogurt and butter milk are some healthy fluids that you you can include in your diet. They contain beneficial probiotic bacteria which help aids digestion. Tender coconut water is another natural health drink that contains plethora of minerals, electrolytes and vitamins.(Read this.)  Barley water is another fluid that has tremendous health benefits (read here) and is highly recommended for pregnant women.Including both these healthy fluids in your pregnancy diet will not only rid you of constipation but also prevent urinary tract infections and the like.

*Avoid foods that lead to constipation. Reduce intake of foods such as white flour (maida), White rice, white bread and certain brands of corn flakes.

* Don't eat big meals. As digestion becomes a little sluggish during pregnancy, eating a large meal can lead to indigestion and in turn can lead to constipation. Instead of 3 large meals, opt for  6 mini meals. When you have small meals at regular intervals, the load on your digestive system is decreased are you are less likely to experience bloating and gas.

* Exercise!! Regular exercise ensures more regular and easier bowel movements. 20-30 minutes of walking 4 times in a week and simple stretches will help. However, talk to your doctor if you have any complications. Even some yoga poses suitable for pregnancy can be practiced under the guidance of a yoga instructor.

* Go to the bathroom as soon as you get the urge! Never hold it in! 

Home-Remedies for pregnancy constipation
If you had constipation anytime before your pregnancy, then it was perfectly fine to use purgatives like aloevera juice,  castor oil or Triphala Choorna. But when you are pregnant, these are not recommended. Intake of these could make the baby in the womb hyperactive and besides these are emmanagogues  and hence to be on the safer side, it's better if you avoid these when you are pregnant. However the below mentioned home-remedies are quite safe, especially the ones with ghee and ripe bananas.

1.Ghee with hot water
Take a glass of lukewarm water. Add 10 drops of cow's ghee (clarified butter) (Amazon link) to it and drink it. Have it twice a day. Now this remedy was recommended by a highly reputed Ayurvedic physician. Ghee has laxative and diuretic properties; It makes the Vata Dosha to move downwards and thus helps in elimination of waste products effectively. It's oily property keeps the digestive tract lubricated; it softens the stools and reduces flatulence, bloating and other symptoms of  aggravated Vata.  Ghee, as a laxative as well as a health food is highly recommended throughout pregnancy. Consumption of cow's ghee by an expecting mother builds up her stamina and also helps in the overall physical and mental development of the foetus in womb.  And contrary to popular belief, ghee poses no danger to cardiac health, if taken in moderate quantities and as per a study it could even protect us from cancer. (The recommended quantity for a pregnant woman is 8-10 grams. per day.)

 

2.Ripe Bananas
Take 2 medium-sized overripe bananas and mash them. add 1/2 tsp of black sesame seeds (Amazon link) to the mashed bananas and mix well and have it. Now eatables prepared with sesame seeds are usually not recommended during pregnancy, especially eating too many Til Ladoos during the first trimester, at least isn't advocated. But half a teaspoon of sesame seeds is just fine. But still if you are concerned then skip the sesame seeds and eat only the mashed ripe banana paste.
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3. Dry black Grapes and/or figs
Soak 4-5 dry black grapes (raisins) or 2-3 dry figs overnight and then and have them the first thing in the morning.
 
4. Isabgol:
While Triphala Choorna is a strict no-no during pregnancy, it's usually recommended that you can take Isabgol (Refer Wikipedia Info here.) But is it ok to take Isabgol when you are pregnant? Well, the truth is that you should consult your doctor regarding this matter. As per WebMD, Isabgol might decrease the aborption of certain medications taken pregnancy and as such it is recommended that you should take this product (Isabgol) at least 2 hours from your other medications. Now if you have conceived through IUI or IVF, then usually aspirin tablets are prescribed. And a study suggests that Isabgol may decrease aspirin's absorption by the Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) into the blood.  So here again exercise caution and consult your doctor. Better still, avoid Isabgol, in such cases and try to relieve constipation through diet and other measures.



How to take Isabgol?
Soak 1½ tsp of Isabgol (the husk of the psyllium seed) (Buy Isabgol from here or here) in a glass of lukewarm water / warm milk for around 3-4 hours and have it during the day.
Similar Reading: Why do I get constipated before menses?

Conributed by Smitha


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2 comments:

  1. Medini3:27 PM

    I found a glass or two of hot water helped move things along. Prune juice and others just made me have diarrhea.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kiran3:30 PM

    drink lots of water and eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Just keep a high fiber diet because pregnancy does slow down your digestive system.

    ReplyDelete

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