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Constipation… AKA CONSTANTpation

I really didn’t want to ever talk about this… but having a normal bowel movement has become the focus of many of my days lately. They say constipation is a normal part of pregnancy, but I didn’t quite realize how much of a daily effect it would have on these 10 months of my life. They say as many as half of pregnant women have concerns with constipation throughout their gestational time. The main reason this becomes an issue during pregnancy is the increase in the hormone progesterone, which in turn relaxes the muscle groups including your digestive tract muscles. Another big reason is the overall “squash” that your digestive tract goes through as baby grows larger and larger. And if that wasn’t enough, one more common culprit is iron supplementation, which-ding, ding, ding- I had to begin recently based on my last blood test. So, I am the ideal candidate for issues, and issues I am having!

Luckily this topic was brought up at my most recent baby class, and I have some tips to share with you to hopefully help make your experience better too! Since I found out I was pregnant, I started using Metamucil as a precaution. It is super easy to just drink down a glass of water with a tablespoon or so, and it worked like a charm up until the third trimester started. So, I’ve had to be a bit more proactive! I try and ensure that I am eating high fiber foods like beans, vegetables and fruits… with the skins on, and whole grains to help my GI tract. Drinking lots of water and eating high water fruits like watermelon can also help! Prune juice is also known to help, but I just could not stomach it. Yuck! If you can add it to a smoothie, it makes a huge difference but definitely maintains a “last resort” move for me.

Another great tip from our class instructor is to smile during a bowel movement. I know, I know… I looked at her like she was crazy too. But it works! Ina May talks about this in her best seller: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, referencing the opening of any sphincter helps to open all of them. So, relax your jaw and smile big! Another great tip she told us was to use a stool while on the toilet. Elevating your feet, helps to elevate pressure on your GI tract, and allows things to, you know… flow. This will also help to alleviate another not so pleasant pregnancy side effect, hemorrhoids. And my personal opinion is… I will do or try anything to help prevent this nasty unpleasantry!

Last but certainly not least, exercise! So, another great reason to stay motivated to keep moving. Yoga is a great technique to try! I have begun the practice of yoga, and have found our DVD: Healthy Mom, Happy Baby quite useful. I have dabbled in yoga in the past, but have never been a devote follower. This video is only 30 minutes long, so it helps me meet the recommended 30 minutes of exercise daily (from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). The exercises are basic, and the relaxation techniques are great training for now and during delivery. My husband has even joined in! Also, I love being able to pop in the DVD at home. I honestly wish that I had started this earlier in my pregnancy, due to the convenience as well as the benefits I am feeling from stretching my muscles groups. This DVD has made me a believer in the power of the mind and body connection. After use for just a couple of weeks, I now feel comfortable with basic poses, which I hope to use not only during delivery but after too. Just 9 weeks to go!