Constipation in pregnancy

Why you get blocked up

Constipation in pregnancy isn’t just linked to your diet, it’s also down to your hormones. Your body produces extra progesterone which cleverly makes your muscles relax so your baby can grow inside you. However, this also affects your intestines, meaning food moves through more slowly.

Constipation during pregnancy can also be caused by the extra pressure the uterus puts on the bowel and rectum, slowing down bowel movements.

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Moving things along

When bowel movements need speeding up, diet and exercise can help set things in motion!

Getting plenty of fibre like fruit, veg, pulses and whole grains is important. Liquid will also help to soften your stools and make them easier to pass, so drink lots too. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day and try fruit juices (particularly prune juice).

When you’re bloated and blocked up, you may not feel like exercising but about 20 to 30 minutes a day of swimming, walking, or another gentle exercise you enjoy, can help kick start your system.

You might also want to review any pregnancy vitamin supplements or iron tablets you're taking, as they can slow your bowels down too, but double check with your midwife before making any changes. And while you're there, ask them which type of laxative is safe to take during pregnancy. Hopefully you won't need any but they'll be useful to have on stand-by as a last resort!

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