18 Home Remedies To Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy + Causes And Foods To Eat

Written by Sucharita Mishra

Becoming pregnant is one of the most amazing and blessed experiences in your life, but it also comes with its share of difficulties. Morning sickness, abdominal pain, and infrequent bowel movements are common during pregnancy. The hormonal changes in your body and the kind of food you eat during this time may affect your bowel movements, leading to constipation. In this article, we explore a couple of home remedies for constipation during your pregnancy you can try to get relief from this tiring ordeal.

How To Treat Constipation During Pregnancy Naturally

1. Lemon

Lemon exhibits antioxidant properties due to the presence of vitamin C (1). This increases the production of bile in the body. This, in turn, helps in treating constipation.

You Will Need
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 glass of warm water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of warm water.
  2. Add honey to taste and consume this daily.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1-2 times a day.

2. Oranges

Oranges are excellent sources of dietary fiber (2). Dietary fiber can help increase stool frequency in individuals with constipation (3).

You Will Need

1-2 oranges

What You Have To Do

Have an orange or two on a daily basis.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

3. Prune Juice

Prunes contain a compound called sorbitol (4). This compound exhibits laxative properties (5). Hence, prunes may be highly effective in treating constipation.

You Will Need

1 cup of prune juice

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume a cup of prune juice.
  2. Alternatively, you can also eat prunes instead of drinking the juice.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least 4 times a day.

4. Flaxseeds

Research suggests that flaxseeds exhibit laxative properties (6). These properties may help in relieving constipation.

You Will Need

1/2-2 tablespoons of pre-ground flaxseeds

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume half a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds via your daily diet.
  2. Gradually increase the intake to two tablespoons.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

Note: Drink ample amounts of water while including flax seeds in your diet.

5. Ispaghula Husks

Ispaghula husk (psyllium) is a rich source of dietary fiber (7). When mixed with water, it acts as a mild laxative and helps to soften the stool (8). This may help in relieving constipation and its symptoms.

You Will Need
  • 1 sachet of ispaghula husks
  • 1 glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add one sachet of ispaghula husk granules to a glass of cold water.
  2. Mix well and consume this immediately.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

6. Lemon Or Peppermint Essential Oil

Aromatherapy massage using peppermint or lemon essential oil may help soften fecal impaction and treat constipation (9).

You Will Need
  • 1-2 drops of lemon/peppermint essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of any carrier oil (olive or almond oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice.
  2. Massage this mixture on your abdomen.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

7. Kiwi Fruit

Kiwis have high water and dietary fiber content (10). This may get the bowels moving and functioning smoothly (11), (12). This may make kiwi one of the best remedies for constipation.

You Will Need

1 kiwi

What You Have To Do

Have a kiwi daily.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

8. Vitamin C

Vitamin C exhibits laxative activity (13). Hence, it may be suitable for the treatment of constipation. Consuming citrus fruits and juices may help in treating constipation.

Note: Consult a doctor before taking additional vitamin C supplements as the vitamin C intake should not exceed 6000 mg daily for pregnant women.

9. Yogurt

Yogurt is a rich source of probiotics that aid digestion by altering the microbiota in the bowels (14). This may help in treating constipation in pregnant women.

You Will Need

1 cup of plain yogurt

What You Have To Do

Consume a cup of plain yogurt.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

10. Apple Juice

Apples contain a naturally occurring fiber called pectin. This fiber promotes bowel movements (15). Hence, it may help in treating constipation.

You Will Need
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Cut an apple into small pieces and blend it with a cup of warm water.
  2. Consume this juice.
Tip: Do not peel the apple.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

11. Apple Cider Vinegar

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar may improve digestion. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 glass of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and consume this solution.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this every morning and night until you see an improvement in your condition.

12. Coconut Oil

coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that boost metabolism (16). This may help in stimulating bowel movement.

You Will Need

1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume a tablespoon of coconut oil on a daily basis.
  2. You can either add it to your salads or consume it directly.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a day.

13. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are rich sources of dietary fiber (17). This fiber aids bowel movement. Hence, chia seeds may help in treating constipation.

You Will Need
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of juice or milk
What You Have To Do
  1. Let the chia seeds soak in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the soaked chia seeds to your favorite drink and have it.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

14. Cranberry Juice

Cranberries are a good source of dietary fiber (18). This may make cranberry an effective natural remedy for constipation.

You Will Need

1 glass of unsweetened cranberry juice

What You Have To Do

Consume a glass of cranberry juice.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

15. Epsom Salt

The magnesium sulfate present in Epsom salt exhibits laxative action (19). This may aid in treating constipation.

You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a cup of Epsom salt to your bath.
  2. Soak and relax in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least 3 times a week.

16. Green Tea

The caffeine present in green tea exhibits mild laxative properties (20). This may aid in relieving constipation.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the green tea leaves to a cup of hot water and a
  2. llow them to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Strain and consume the tea before it turns cold.
  4. You can also add honey for flavor.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1-2 times a day.

17. Grapes

Grapes are rich in dietary fiber (21). This may help in easing constipation.

You Will Need

1 cup of grapes

What You Have To Do

Consume a small cup of fresh grapes.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

Note: Pregnant women are advised to eat grapes in moderation due to the presence of resveratrol in them. It is best to avoid grapes altogether in the last trimester of pregnancy.

18. Bananas

Bananas are rich sources of dietary fiber and other nutrients (22), (23). Hence, bananas may be a good option to treat constipation and its symptoms during pregnancy.

You Will Need

1 banana

What You Have To Do

Have a banana.

How Often You Should Do This

Eat a banana 2 times a day.

The appropriate use of these remedies may bring about a positive effect and relieve constipation. Nevertheless, constipation is quite common in pregnant women. It is wise to take some additional precautions to avoid its recurrence. The following preventive tips may help in preventing the occurrence of constipation during pregnancy.

Preventive Tips

  • Increase the intake of fiber-rich foods.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids in the form of water and fresh juices.
  • Keep moving and indulge in gentle exercises and yoga.
  • Avoid using laxatives as they might trigger uterus contractions along with bowel contraction.

Discussed below are the causes of constipation during pregnancy.

What Causes Constipation During Pregnancy?

Constipation during pregnancy is mainly caused by hormonal changes. Pregnancy is often accompanied by an increase in the progesterone hormone. This causes the relaxation of all the muscles in the body, including intestinal muscles. Relaxed intestinal muscles means slower digestion, and this may lead to constipation.

In addition to this, the pressure on the womb because of the growing fetus and the iron in prenatal vitamin supplements may also cause constipation during pregnancy. Iron supplements are believed to slow down digestion by sticking to the undigested substances in the body, thus triggering constipation.

Now that we are well aware of what triggers constipation during pregnancy, let us look at the common symptoms that accompany this condition.

Symptoms Of Constipation During Pregnancy

Some of the most common symptoms of constipation during pregnancy include:

  • Reduced bowel movements.
  • Feces become hardened, making their passage difficult.
  • A decrease in appetite.
  • Abdominal bloating and pain.
  • Blood splotches in the stool as a result of rectal injury due to hard feces.

Constipation is a tiring condition in general. During pregnancy, it may take a toll on your health. Read on to find out when it occurs so that you are prepared to deal with it.

When Does Constipation Occur During Pregnancy?

Constipation is found to affect a whopping 3 out of 4 pregnant women. It may occur in the first trimester but can also appear as soon as you conceive (24).

However, the hormone that triggers constipation is found to increase its levels in the 9th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy. This is usually the period when it may hit you real hard. Constipation may also develop during the end of the pregnancy, owing to the enlarged uterus and the consequent pressure on the intestines.

It is best to get medical help immediately to avoid severe side effects.

Side Effects Of Constipation During Pregnancy

Given below are the side effects that may occur when you are pregnant and constipated (24). In some cases, these may even call for a medical emergency.

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Repetitive rectal bleeding
  • Hemorrhoids

Hormonal changes, mainly the increase in progesterone levels in the body, are primary causes of constipation during pregnancy. In addition, iron supplements and the growing pressure on the uterus contribute to slower digestion and irregular bowel movements. As a result, symptoms like hardened stools, abdominal bloating and pain, bloody splotches in feces, and decreased appetite are common. This situation can become extremely painful and lead to medical emergencies. Home remedies to relieve constipation during pregnancy like lemons, orange juice, dietary fiber in the form of flax seeds and psyllium husk, apple cider vinegar, etc., can provide relief from the symptoms and improve bowel movement and its frequency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to eat for constipation during pregnancy?

Pregnant women should try and include fiber-rich foods, like cereals, fruits, vegetables, and beans, in their diet to combat constipation.

What medicines are safe for constipation during pregnancy?

Pregnant women are strictly advised against taking laxative medications as they may cause uterine contractions. This, in turn, may lead to a miscarriage. However, they may consume stool softeners to combat constipation after consulting their doctor.

Sources

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