Pooping is not necessarily something many people like to talk about, but it’s an important bodily function that shouldn’t be overlooked! During pregnancy, many factors come into play that put women at a higher risk for constipation. For one, hormonal changes impact the motility of the intestines, slowing things down. In addition, as baby grows there is an increasing pressure on the intestines which makes it more difficult for stool to pass through. Some other factors that may influence bowel movements include a decrease in physical activity as well as high-iron prenatal supplements. While this all sounds like we are doomed for constipation while pregnant, fear not! Let’s shift our attention to the quick and easy changes you can make to set yourself up for successful, strain-free poops!
1. Enter the Squatty Potty! If you don’t have one of these yet, treat yo’self, girl! What I’m about to say may blow your mind, but we are pooping incorrectly and inefficiently when we sit on a standard toilet! When we sit with our hips and knees at a 90 degree angle and our trunks upright, it actually creates a kink that makes it difficult for stool to pass out of the body. When we elevate our feet and lean our trunk forward a little, the stool is free to pass! You can also prop each foot up onto something like a roll of toilet paper or wastebasket if you don’t have a Squatty Potty. The main take home message is get those feet elevated and that trunk leaning forward!
2. Move, mama, move! Exercise helps waste move through your intestines more quickly. So resist the urge to curl up on the couch when feeling constipated and try your favorite exercises!
3. Breathe in, Breathe out! Inhale, allowing your belly to expand and your pelvic floor muscles to open (think: no clenching your hoo-hoo!). Exhale and simply let your belly and pelvic floor muscles go back to their resting positions. Take your time. If you can, close your eyes and relax. Try this in different positions: lying on your back, sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, or while on the toilet!
4. Hydrate! Hydration is especially important during pregnancy for many reasons, one of which is preventing constipation. What you need to know: dehydration = hard, difficult-to-pass stool…hydration = softer, easier-to-pass stool. Now go fill your water bottle!
5. Fiber-rich Fruits and Veggies! Incorporate a variety of nutritious whole foods into your diet, including high-fiber foods. I personally like focusing on high fiber fruits and vegetables, as they are rich with vitamins and nutrients and free of sneaky additives, all while providing your body the fiber it needs to help that stool move along! Remember, fiber works best when consumed with plenty of water too! While on the subject of nutrition, you may want to ask your doctor if magnesium supplementation might be a good option for you to try as well, as it can be a helpful stool softener.
Have other pregnancy-related wellness questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your question or to set up a free phone consultation! If you found these tips helpful, please share this post with a friend who might also benefit from it! Together, we can optimize the health and wellness of moms-to-be!