Q: What are the healthiest treatments for constipation during pregnancy?

A: Constipation during pregnancy is a common occurrence. The constipation is not normally associated with any fetal condition or harm, just with the changes in the body naturally progressing through the pregnancy. Being constipated while pregnant can leave mom feeling fatigued and uncomfortable, but there are natural ways to treat constipation during pregnancy.

Most natural treatments for constipation are just fine when used during pregnancy. This does NOT include colon cleansing supplements. Doctors most often prescribe fiber supplementation, high fiber diets, drinking more water, daily exercise, an over the counter fiber supplement like Metamucil and a reduction in iron.

Taking a fiber supplement is a good choice to fight constipation, but the pregnant woman needs to be careful not to worsen the constipation. Psyllium, which is the most common fiber supplement, is a bulk forming laxative. This means it collects the feces together to push out of the intestine. If the pregnant mother does not consume enough water, the bulk that is formed can increase the constipation instead of treating the constipation.
It is important for the pregnant mother not to strain trying to pass a bowel movement. Straining can cause hemorrhoids and bleeding from the rectum.

Severe constipation, defined as the inability to pass any feces, needs to be reported to the obstetrician. If the body is unable to pass waste out of the body, illness can occur. There could be an obstruction of the bowel or the intestine that is causing the constipation. Impacted feces can also be the cause of constipation and will need to be treated by a doctor.