Constipation is common throughout pregnancy, often with onset in the first trimester. It can also be a problem after you have delivered your baby.
What can be done?
Constipation can be minimised by eating more fresh fruit, high fibre food, unprocessed bran, drinking an adequate amount of water (one to two litres per day) and by doing regular exercise such as walking.
Highly refined, fast foods and junk foods can make you constipated. So avoid them.
Red meat also can cause constipation. A vegetarian diet is gentler on the gut and more likely to result in no constipation problems. So have lots of fruit and vegetables rather than meat if constipation is a problem.
All iron tablets can cause constipation. If you have an iron deficiency anaemia then alternative measures of correcting this may need to be considered which don’t cause constipation.
If constipated then sometimes an over-the-counter medication such as Metamucil, Movicol, Normacol, Fybogel, Senokot or Agarol may be needed. Sometimes a glycerol or Dulcolax suppository is needed. All these medications are safe in pregnancy. It is better to use one than strain on the toilet.
Also try this recipe: frozen blueberries, 2 strawberries, 2 oranges juiced and 2 kiwi fruit all blended together. Sounds nice? It should get you going again!
After you have had a baby
Constipation is a common problem again. It is better to use the above strategies than strain.
Straining in the postpartum period can cause/exacerbate haemorrhoids. Also hard faeces can result in an anal fissure.