Laxatives For Constipation (cont.)

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How is constipation treated during pregnancy?

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Hormones from the pregnancy, as well as prenatal vitamins and iron supplements may cause constipation. Pressure from the uterus pushes on the bowels and can cause constipation.

Often dietary and behavioral modifications can ease constipation during pregnancy and are considered safe.

  • Eat a diet rich in fiber with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Supplement fiber in the diet with over-the-counter products such as Metamucil, which is considered safe
  • Stay hydrated – drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day
  • Drink 1-2 glasses of prune juice per day
  • Exercise regularly – if permitted by your obstetrician

Pregnant women should talk with their doctor before using over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners during pregnancy.

Laxatives for Constipation At A Glance

  • Constipation is infrequent bowel movements that may be painful or difficult with hard stool.
  • Common causes of constipation include diets low in fiber, medications, prior surgeries, and certain medical conditions.
  • A doctor should be consulted for constipation if it is severe, it does not respond to home treatment, is accompanied by bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, or pregnancy.
  • Non-drug measures for constipation include adding fiber to the diet, increasing fluids, and regular exercise.
  • Foods that increase fiber in the diet are helpful in treating mild cases of constipation. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
  • Over-the-counter preparations for constipation include bulk-forming laxatives, stool softeners, lubricant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, saline laxatives enemas, osmotic-type laxatives, and suppositories.
  • There is concern that over-use of laxatives, especially the stimulant laxatives, may have a deleterious effect on the colon and make the constipation worse.
  • Children and infants usually can benefit from dietary modification to help relieve constipation.
  • Constipation in pregnancy can often be remedied with dietary changes and exercise. Individuals should consult their physicians before using laxatives or stool softeners.

REFERENCE: MedscapeReference.com. Constipation.


Last Editorial Review: 9/14/2011


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Constipation - Pregnancy Question: Were you constipation during your pregnancy? What lifestyle changes or natural remedies helped relieve symptoms?

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