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Why Do I Have Constipation In Pregnancy?

The prospect of being a new mother is daunting enough, but the changes that accompany a pregnancy can be like adjusting to a whole new body. Additional weight from the growth of the child, cravings for odd foods, and even dramatic hormone shifts can drive you stir crazy. But, while most expectant moms are prepared for such things, few are prepared for bowel problems.

While not all women report constipation symptoms during pregnancy, most do experience some problems with regularity prior to giving birth. But why exactly would infrequent bowel movements or constipation be worse during pregnancy?

Actually known as pregnancy constipation, this painful condition is ultimately caused by progesterone levels being out of balance. When this happens, constipation problems typically occur because the intestinal muscles relax because progesterone slows down the entire digestive system.

When food is processed or digested at a slower rate, pregnancy constipation is a real possibility because the bowel movements will slow in order to compensate for the slowing digestive process.

Stool hardens and becomes more difficult to evacuate the longer it sits in the body. One of the primary symptoms of any form of constipation is pain or difficulty while having bowel movements. This slowing of the digestive process and the consequent relaxing of the intestinal muscles will completely throw of the normal evacuation cycle and therefore cause constipation in pregnancy.

Stool may literally compact in the intestines and cause a fecal impaction.
Stool does not always collect because hormones slow the digestive process.
Sometimes, constipation in pregnancy is caused by the fetus itself.

Generally during the final trimester, the fetus will become large enough to put pressure on the abdomen and large intestines, sometimes causing blockages and pregnancy constipation.

When hormones or pressure from the fetus is not the cause of the pregnancy constipation, the problem may be caused by cravings. Anytime you indulge in refined sugars or large amounts of dairy products, constipation symptoms are likely to follow. Refined sugars can cause blood sugar spikes and lead to dehydration (and thus constipation problems) when the body tries to correct the problem with insulin. Dairy products are loaded with calcium which can literally paralyze colon muscles when levels become too high in the blood.

Another potential source of pregnancy is the assortment of vitamins and supplements that may be administered by a doctor for prenatal care. Iron supplements can lead to dehydration and constipation problems during pregnancy so be sure to consult with your doctor if you begin having problems after starting a prenatal plan involving prescription medicines.

Gingivitis, constipation, and a number of potential medical issues arise during pregnancy. A woman must be prepared to make adjustments to her normal routine with respect to hygiene during this very volatile period. A good bowel cleanser may be able to remove collected feces that has accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract. This will reduce the chances for fecal impactions and thus help lower the odds of developing pregnancy constipation.

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