Constipation and Motherhood

FOR MOMS: PREGNANCY AND BIRTH

How a baby affects digestion

No matter how happy you are to be pregnant, some of the things pregnancy does to your body can be pretty troublesome. Like constipation. When you’re pregnant, your body produces more of the female hormone progesterone. Progesterone helps to relax the womb, but also the bowel muscles – which are also increasingly squeezed by the growing womb. Combined with iron supplements and the stress of pregnancy, this can soon lead to constipation.

If possible, try to add some fibre to your diet and drink regularly. You could also ask your partner for a gentle stomach massage. If all of these efforts are unsuccessful, you can get your digestion moving with a light laxative even during pregnancy.
If you continue taking iron supplements after giving birth constipation is not uncommon. Then it may be sensible to switch products or discuss stopping taking the supplements altogether with your doctor. Then your diet should deliver the required quantities of iron – for example through nuts and dried fruits. They not only provide the additional energy needed for breastfeeding, they also loosen your bowels – as long as you also drink enough: two to three litres of liquid a day is ideal, especially when breast feeding.

If you are taking painkillers or other medication, you can find out more about possible side effects for your digestion here. Even when lactating, you can still get your digestion moving with a mild laxative.
If, after you have given birth, you experience pain when pooing that shows no signs of improvement, visit your doctor. It might be that you have developed piles by pushing while giving birth. Applying a panty-liner with a little cold curd to the painful area can provide short-term relief. It gives a cooling sensation and contracts the swollen veins. Only sit on the toilet for short periods and strain as little as possible.