Staying active and some simple exercises will help prevent constipation. Just relying on bran is not a good idea to avoid constipation. Large amounts of bran may also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients from the food.
The main reasons for constipation during pregnancy are:
- Constipation due to less food and water intake. Many women suffer from extreme nausea in the early pregnancy and may struggle to eat and drink enough. With bouts of vomiting, they tend to become dehydrated which causes dry hard stools.
- Constipation due to hormonal changes. Later in pregnancy, hormonal changes can relax some muscles which prevent food from moving along the digestive tract. This prevents the bowels from moving easily.
- Constipation due to diet. Refined flour products like bread, cakes, pastries or pasta do not move through the digestive tract easily. They also absorb the liquid that passes through the tract thus causing constipation.
- Constipation due to iron supplements. Normal iron supplements do not absorb well in the digestion process and are one of the main causes of constipation.
Constipation is entirely a curable and manageable condition and home remedies are very effective. New mothers too can safely follow these home remedies. Some of them are:
- Triphala powder – Triphala consists of three fruits – amla or Indian gooseberry, haritaki (Chebulic myrobalan) and vibhitaki(Bellirica myrobalan) and is a great laxative and helps regulate digestion and bowel movements. One teaspoon of the powder with hot/warm water either before going to bed or early in the morning on an empty stomach will help.
- Raisins are full of fibre and act as natural laxatives. Soaking them overnight and having them first thing in the morning works wonders for pregnant mothers.
- Guavas have great health benefits and are highly recommended for constipation due to it soluble fibre in the pulp and insoluble fibre content in the seeds.
- Lemon acts as a cleansing agent for the intestines and drinking lemon juice in warm water on an empty stomach relieves constipation.
- Spinach cleanses, rebuilds and renews the intestinal tract and is the most effective method to cure the most stubborn cases of constipation. 100ml spinach juice mixed with equal quantity of water taken twice daily should help.
- Figs have a lot of fibre and are a great natural laxative.
- Oranges are not only a great source of vitamin C but also have a large amount of fibre content.
- Flaxseeds can be had with the breakfast cereal. They have very high fibre content too.
- Castor oil is one of the best remedies for constipation. Having a tablespoon of castor oil in a glass of milk before going to sleep will relieve constipation.
- A mixture of sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds and almond ground together to a fine powder and taken everyday not only provides the necessary fibre intake but also helps relieve constipation.
In order to avoid constipation, the mother should eat regular meals, include fruits and vegetables in her daily diet, adding condiments like jeera, haldi and Ajwain in the food while cooking and also drink sufficient water. Staying active and exercising will help prevent constipation.
If the mother is breastfeeding, she needs to keep herself hydrated. Take short walks around the house. Sitting or lying down for long periods makes constipation more likely to happen