Constipation

 

What causes constipation in pregnancy?
The pregnancy hormones have an effect on the smooth muscle, making it relaxed. This means that the action of the bowel often slows down. Reduced tone of the abdominal muscles as the uterus grows can also have an effect. Iron tablets, given as a treatment for anaemia, can sometimes cause constipation, although they can also sometimes have the opposite effect!

Haemorrhoids [piles] can make it painful to open the bowels and therefore make you reluctant to go to the toilet when you need to. This holding on can cause constipation and make the problem worse.

What can I do about it?
Make sure that you have plenty of fruit, vegetables and other fibre in your diet. It is also very important that you drink plenty of water and take regular exercise. If you are on iron tablets, it is important that you dont just stop taking them. You need to speak to your midwife, or GP, who may suggest changing the dose, or the brand, until the constipation resolves. It is not a good idea to take laxatives, but you may be prescribed some medicine which helps to make your stool softer and therefore easier to pass. Likewise there are several treatments available for haemorrhoids [piles] which can be prescribed for you to use safely in pregnancy.