One of the problems that can plague the pregnant woman is constipation, affecting up to 40% of women. As if you didn’t have enough going on “in your middle” already! This in part is due to increased progesterone causing smooth muscle relaxation and a decrease in gastrointestinal (GI) function. In addition, dehydration due to nausea/ morning sickness, the growing uterus and it’s stress on abdominal structures and the iron in your prenatal vitamins may also be to responsible.
That being said here are a few things to help with those stubborn bowels:
- Drink more water. Re-hydrate your system and get things flowing better.
- Coconut oil. Take one teaspoon in the morning and another in the evening. If you have stubborn bowels, you may need to increase to one tablespoon. Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). They are easy for your body to digest and act as a source of quick energy for the cells that line your intestines, thereby increasing metabolism and stimulating your bowel movements.
- Chia seeds also help with bowel motility. Add 1tbsp to a glass of water, let it rest a few minutes and then drink. Chia pudding can be made using vanilla or even chocolate almond milk, 1 tbsp to 1/3 cup of milk. Feel free to add to the blender for a smoother consistency.
- High fiber fruit and veggies including figs, dates and prunes.
- Probiotics. Try capsules or powder to add to your beverages, cereals or other foods. Try kombucha or products such as ‘Good Belly’.
This list is not exhaustive as there are other foods that you may add based on your preference, culture and diet, for example, grains for those not on a gluten free or paleo diet. Many cultures and traditions stress the need for drinking warm liquids, specific teas, tisanes and herbs during this time to aid with hydration and bowel function.
In addition to these foods please do not forget the importance of MOVING! That’s right… EXERCISE. Walking, yoga, dancing… whatever you prefer. Try to move at least 20-30 minutes daily. The benefits are amazing!
What teas or foods did you consume during pregnancy? Comment below to share.