Updated: Feb 5
During pregnancy, it is common to experience constipation. Over a third of people experience constipation during pregnancy. Pregnancy constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Yes, this can be very uncomfortable! Here are some natural ways to get things moving!
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that supports the contraction of all of our muscles, including those that help us poop. There are various types of magnesium supplements. The best for constipation is magnesium citrate, which is quite effective during pregnancy.
I recommend taking a magnesium supplement before bed. Everyone has a bowel tolerance for magnesium. Some are more sensitive than others but magnesium can make most people poop. Start with a single dose of 250mg and then increase your dose each night by 250mg until you get desired results. CALM (paid link) is a popular magnesium supplement that I recommend taking before bed. It comes in a variety of flavors and can help with sleep and reduce stress.
Moving your body will also help move your bowels. As little as 10-15 minutes of gentle physical activity like walking, yoga, or swimming can make a huge difference in relieving constipation during pregnancy.
It is important to ensure you are drinking enough liquids throughout pregnancy. While you are pregnant, try to follow the 8x8 rule during your first and second trimesters. Drink an 8 oz glass of water 8 times a day. Once you are in your third trimester increase the frequency to 12 times a day. If you are constipated, try 10-12 times a day.
If you’re tired of drinking plain water try a squeeze of lemon, another fruit infusion, or try sipping a fruity tea. Prune juice also can help with constipation. Remember, sugary juices, sodas, and some teas can actually be dehydrating. You want to make sure your pee is a light yellow color. If your pee is clear, that means you're not absorbing enough water and should add some electrolytes or minerals to your hydration routine. If your pee is dark yellow that means you need to hydrate more.
It can be easy to forget to hydrate so setting timers or reminders for yourself might be a good way to get into the habit of drinking more throughout the day. Lastly, drinking warm liquids help your intestines relax, easing up any pregnancy constipation. Try warmed water or an herbal tea that's safe for pregnancy.
Avoid Sugary & Processed Foods
Sugary and processed foods are dehydrating in nature and more difficult for the body to process. If you are constipated, these foods are not going to be ideal. Try cutting back on your intake of these foods or eliminate them from your diet altogether.
Fiber-rich foods can help get things moving. You have plenty of options like:
Corn, leafy greens, beans, and legumes,
Fruits like berries, avocado, and pears,
Cooked vegetables (easier to digest, yet rich in fiber)
Whole grains including oatmeal and quinoa
Nuts and seeds like almonds and chia seeds
Dried fruit such as apricots, dates, prunes, raisins, and figs *I recommend eating with plenty of water or soaking for optimal results. Sometimes dried fruits can actually absorb some of the water in our system so it is important we stay hydrated.
Probiotics & Fermented Foods
Probiotics and fermented foods help promote your gut health. They both contain two strains of beneficial bacteria: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, known to help ease digestive troubles, including constipation. Look for probiotics with these strains or try eating more probiotic-rich fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, and kimchi.
Homeopathic remedies are a great option during pregnancy. Some homeopathic remedies for constipation include Bryonia, Silica, Calc-cabonica, Lycopodium, Nux-vomica, and Causticum. With homeopathy, it is important to review each remedy and which symptoms it is best for. This LIST will help you determine which remedy would be best for you.
Disclaimer: This information does not substitute for a care provider-patient relationship and should not be relied on as personal medical advice.
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Meet the Author
Clara O'Rourke (she hers),
Holistic Doula & Childbirth Educator.
I am a researcher turned total birth nerd with a passion for supporting people birth in their full power! I guide people through their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum journey by helping them overcome fear or anxiety about birth, providing evidence-based information so they can make informed decisions, and ensuring they have everything they need to birth with confidence. Birth is sacred and it should be treated that way. I am committed to providing support for birth and beyond, regardless of a person's background, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or relationship status. También ofrezco mis servicios en español. I wish you and your growing family the brightest of beginnings!