Generic Name: Bulk-Forming Laxatives
Indications: Relief from occasional constipation; fiber supplement.
FDA Drug Category: C
Summary Recommendations: Bulk-forming laxatives can be used during pregnancy to relieve constipation. Common brands include Metamucil, Fibercon, Citrucel and Konsyn.
Bulk-forming laxatives include psyllium, bran, methylcellulose, polycarbophil and general dietary fiber found in many foods and fiber-enriched products. Depending on the type of bulk-forming laxative you choose, the product may come in tablet, chewable wafer, powder or liquid form. No matter the form of the medication, all require increased water intake at the time the medication is taken and after.
General Precautions: Before taking a bulk-forming laxative or any other form of laxative, talk with your obstetrician about natural means of relieving constipation. Increasing intake of fruit and high-fiber foods and drinking lots of water can improve bowel movements and may relieve constipation without the need for a bulk-forming laxative.
If your doctor suggests a bulk-forming laxative, take the medication as instructed. Never take more in hopes of improving the speed or effectiveness of the laxatives. Bulk-forming laxatives require fluid to work properly. If you don’t increase fluid intake bulk-forming laxatives can actually cause a worse cause of constipation.
Effect While Trying to Conceive: Bulk-forming laxatives have no effect on male or female fertility. If you are undergoing fertility treatment, talk with your fertility doctor before taking bulk-forming laxatives or any other over the counter or herbal medication.
Effects on Pregnancy: There are no known side effects, pregnancy complications or birth defects associated with bulk-forming laxative use in pregnancy. It is important, however, to discuss constipation during pregnancy with your doctor as a dietary change may be suggested. You should never take bulk-forming laxatives at the same time you take vitamins or prescription medications. The effect of the vitamins and/or prescription medication(s) may be delayed if taking with a bulk-forming laxative.
Safe During Breastfeeding: Bulk-forming laxatives are safe for use by breastfeeding mothers. They do require additional water intake to work properly, which could affect milk production. Drinking an eight-ounce glass of water with the laxative and increasing water intake throughout the day should prevent any negative side effects. Some bulk-forming laxatives cause gas and bloating. This side effect is not passed on to the nursing infant.