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Constipation and Pregnancy

constipation-during-pregnancy.jpgPregnancy is a beautiful thing; however, many women do not seem to think so the entire time they are pregnant, especially when they have constipation, heartburn and morning sickness. Many different issues come along with pregnancy due to the sharp rise of hormone production, and the growing child inside the body. Knowing about these issues during pregnancy will help you learn how to deal with them and ease them so that you stay as comfortable as possible throughout your pregnancy.

Constipation
This condition affects about half of women at some point or another in their pregnancy. It is characterized by abdominal pain, the passing of hard stools, and infrequent bowel movements. It is generally caused by stress, anxiety, low physical activity and a low fiber diet. It is thought that hormones cause the intestinal muscles to relax, and the pressure of the growing uterus contributes to the problems with constipation. 

To alleviate the issue, you should increase your exercise, take over-the-counter fiber supplements, drink plenty of fluids, and talk to your doctor about any iron supplements you are taking. The iron supplements can contribute to constipation, but you may need them, so be sure you approach the issue with your doctor before changing anything.

Heartburn
This happens when the valve between the stomach and esophagus relaxes (because of hormones) and cannot prevent stomach acid from coming into the esophagus. This is most common in the third trimester because the large uterus adds pressure to the body. To help relieve this condition, you should avoid spicy or greasy foods, try to avoid lying down within an hour of eating, and eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.

Morning Sickness
This is nausea and vomiting caused by the increase in hormones, experienced by many pregnant women.  It can be triggered by smells, foods, dehydration, etc.  The nausea usually occurs between weeks 6 and 12 of pregnancy. Sometimes, the morning sickness does not occur at all, while in other pregnancies it occurs the entire time, or in very severe cases which require hospitalization.  

Eat small meals frequently, and drink lots of fluids either before or after your meals, to help ease this discomfort.

Breast Changes
From day one of your pregnancy you are going to experience breast changes in preparation for your baby.  You will experience tenderness, and enlargement.  An increased blood flow and volume will cause the veins around your breasts to darken, and the area around your nipples will darken.  This will help your newborn see your nipples so that he or she can eat.  You may also experience discharge (pre-milk).

To relieve these symptoms, wear a comfortable and supportive bra.  You can place small cotton pads inside the bra to soak up the discharge. 

All of this may seem very overwhelming and bothersome.  Remember all of these things are temporary, and very much so worth the end result.  Some women will experience all of these things, while others will experience only a few.  Each pregnancy is different, so if you experience one thing during your first pregnancy, you may not see it in your second. 

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