Constipation in pregnancy

Constipation in Pregnancy 1

When can constipation occur?

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal symptom in pregnancy. It is most troublesome in the first trimester. Pregnancy hormones, altered dietary fibre intake, iron supplementation and some anti-nausea medications, such as Ondansetron, can all contribute to constipation.

The first line treatment for constipation is increasing dietary fibre and fluid intake as well as increasing activity levels. Dietary fibre intake can be improved by eating more wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables. Foods that are particularly effective in treating constipation are prunes, pears and pear juice and kiwi fruit, with the skin on! Making a smoothie makes this much more palatable.

Where fibre supplementation does not alleviate symptoms, laxatives can be effective.

Bulk forming laxatives such as Benefibre of Fybogel are usually effective in 24 hours. These need to be taken with plenty of water.

Osmotic laxatives such as Lactulose and Movicol help to soften the stool. They are usually effective within 2-48 hrs.

Coloxyl on its own is a stool softener which can be safely used. Coloxyl with Senna helps to stimulate the gut but should NOT be used on a regular basis. Speak to your Doctor about using this type of laxative.

5 female specialist obstetricians, O&GCG Melbourne, Dr Jean Wong, Dr Leah Xu, Dr Natalia Khomko, Dr Perri Dyson and Dr Robin Thurman

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