A woman costipating

What causes it?

When you are pregnant, your bowels slow down a bit and your growing uterus causes pressure on your bowels. This makes constipation more likely. Women who take iron pills when they are pregnant may be constipated. It can also be caused by a change in your eating habits. You are constipated if your bowel movements are hard and dry or are difficult to pass. It is not a serious problem. Although it may be very uncomfortable, it does get better.

What can I do about it?

• Eat high-fiber foods like whole wheat bread, whole grain cereal, bran, beans, dried fruit, and fresh fruit, prune juice and vegetables.
• Drink lots of water — 6 to 8 glasses a day.
• Stay active. Walk every day or do some other exercise that you enjoy.
• Develop good bowel habits:
  • When you have to go, do it. Do not wait. 
  • Wait until you have to go. Do not try to force it.
  • Do not strain. Relax and take your time. Try raising your feet on a stool or a box while you are sitting on the toilet.

• Try drinking hot or very cold liquid on an empty stomach.

What if none of this helps?

• Talk to your doctor if the problem lasts more than a week or so.
• If you’re taking iron pills because your doctor has told you to, ask if you should stop taking them.

• Do not take any laxative or other medicine without checking with your doctor.
On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional.
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