Many pregnant women experience during pregnancy that they, to a greater or lesser extent, become constipated. Since intestinal function is important for well-being, constipation can be very disruptive.
During pregnancy, it is more important than otherwise to think about their eating habits, as the digestion in the intestines is affected by hormones.
What happens in the gut?
More female sex hormones are produced when you become pregnant. These hormones have the job of making sure you stay pregnant. Through the autonomic nervous system, these hormones also slow down the rate of bowel movements and activity.
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There must be enough fiber and fluid for a gut to function optimally. Fibers and fluid keep the gut running. It is therefore important during pregnancy to get this in, as the bowel must be stimulated more than usual.
What are the signs of constipation?
- If there is more than four days between stools.
- Hard stools, which are difficult to get out.
- A feeling that you have not gotten rid of everything, even though you have just had stools.
- The stomach is swollen.
- Fatigue, nausea, reduced well-being.
- The stool is so hard that it causes bleeding from the rectum.
The above symptoms may be signs of constipation but may also be signs of something else. Therefore, you should always consult a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
What can you do about constipation?
There are three things that are important for a good digestion:
- Fibers in the food
- Very fluid
What does fiber contain?
In the food suggestions that follow there are plenty of fiber. It is good to vary with different foods during the day:
- Grain bread
- Wheat bran
- prune juice
Fiber is important for digestion. Fibers ensure that the intestine keeps up and increases movement in the intestine. They absorb fluid from the intestinal mucosa and thus keep the stools reasonably soft.
How much and what should you drink?
Drink when you feel thirsty. When constipation it is advisable to drink a little extra. It is good to drink water, but herbal teas and fruit juices may be appropriate supplements (black tea and coffee should be avoided as they are fluid).
It is important that the stools are reasonably soft if the gut is to function well. Fibers suck fluid from the intestine. If there is not enough fluid in the body, the stools will become hard and follow the bowel movements worse because of this, digestion can stop. By drinking properly you will make digestion easier.
How is digestion affected by exercise?
Movement when exercising stimulates the intestine – when you move you massage the intestine. This “massage” stimulates the bowel to move more and thus contribute to a better digestion. Walking 20-30 minutes a day can improve your digestion. Even swimming once a week is good for keeping the whole body going. Moving is also important in order to feel good and to stay up until birth.