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Constipation in Pregnancy

Difficult defecation or its complete absence for more than 2-3 days is called constipation. This symptom is very common during pregnancy. High hormone levels reduce bowel activity. Peristalsis begins to falter and the emptying process becomes difficult.

Pregnant women often change their eating habits and abuse starchy and sweet foods. Change of schedule, toxicosis and unacceptable diet are the main stimulants of digestive problems. The causes of constipation at the beginning of pregnancy are hormonal and in the end – mechanical (the uterus squeezes the colon).

When Does Constipation Start in Pregnancy?

Constipation appears in the first, at the end of the second, and at the beginning of the third trimesters. The symptom is associated with causes of a different nature. Problems with bowel movements at the beginning of pregnancy start with a sharp jump in progesterone. It inhibits the active work of peristalsis, slowing down or even inhibiting the emptying process.

The onset of constipation in the second and third trimesters coincides with a growth spurt in the uterus. Its strong increase leads to squeezing of the intestines and other digestive organs.


Constipation during the gestation period is observed at the 8th, 13th, and 16th weeks. The symptom manifests itself at the 24th and 29th weeks of pregnancy. It is much less common for problems with bowel movements to occur at the end of the third trimester. During this period, there will be a weakening of defecation.

Constipation can accompany a woman for most of the gestation period if her initial health was complicated by problems with defecation.

Constipation weeks in pregnancy

When will it end?

Difficult defecation goes away after the 8th week of pregnancy. Further, its manifestation may be episodic. Symptoms subside after the 16th week. There is a recurrence of symptoms of constipation at the beginning of the third trimester. They should normally disappear completely after the 29th week of pregnancy.

Problems with defecation end after the establishment of nutrition and adaptation of the body to hormonal and physiological changes.

How Does it Feel?

Constipation can be felt by a woman as a complete lack of urge to empty, difficult defecation, increased gas formation, and mild pain in the intestines. Sometimes the symptoms become more vivid and unpleasant. We are talking about the acute course of the problem in this case. Consider the symptoms of constipation:


A woman in such a situation experiences a feeling of fullness in the intestines, pressure inside the abdomen, increased gas formation, and even pain. Defecation does not occur for 4-5 days or more. Nausea, weakness, and decreased movement may occur.


Constipation in a mild form is manifested by sensations of difficult defecation, dense stool, and pain in the anus during bowel movements. A woman goes to the toilet no more than 1 time in 2 days.

Prolonged lack of defecation can lead to the intoxication of the body. This is extremely dangerous for mother and child!

Prevention methods

Prevention of constipation during pregnancy can be preventive measures that are better to start applying long before conception. It all comes down to maintaining the right lifestyle. These are nutrition, mobility, drinking regimen, timely defecation, medication, and so on. Here is an example of the most effective ways to prevent constipation.

Eat right

It is necessary to eat a lot of vegetable fiber so that the bowel movement is always good and regular. It helps to normalize the work of peristalsis and improve the consistency of feces. Reduce the amount of consumption of flour, starch, and dairy products. Follow the diet. Don’t skip lunches. Use only healthy foods as a snack: nuts, dried fruits, fruits.

Keep physical activity

A common cause of constipation is a sedentary lifestyle. It reduces muscle tone and prevents stable bowel movements. A sedentary lifestyle has a bad effect on the condition of the intestines, inhibiting the work of peristalsis.

Regular exercise improves the functioning of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, improves muscle tone, and frees the body of toxins. The work of the intestines is normalized and defecation becomes regular.

Treatment of concomitant diseases

If there are problems with the functioning of the digestive tract, it is better to eliminate them in advance. Cholecystitis, gastritis, colitis, and other diseases adversely affect the functioning of the intestines. Constipation is a common symptom of bile flow problems.

Make sure you don’t have dyskinesia or a tilted gallbladder. It is necessary to undergo therapy and treatment in the presence of these problems.

Why Constipation happens in Pregnancy?

Constipation during pregnancy is considered a secondary symptom. It appears in the early stages due to the influence of progesterone. This hormone weakens the contraction of the intestine and reduces the work of peristalsis. Feces stagnate for a long time inside and become more viscous and dry.

Constipation in the later stages is manifested due to the mechanical pressure of the uterus on the large intestine. This inhibits the passage of feces and causes stagnation and rare bowel movements. The cause of constipation may be non-compliance with the pregnant drinking regimen. Lack of water thickens the stool making it more viscous and sticky.

Changing the diet, eating disorders, addiction to sweets and starchy foods are stimulants for delaying bowel movements. The motor activity of a woman is greatly reduced during pregnancy and this can cause constipation.


Long intervals between bowel movements during the gestation period have a bad effect on the well-being of a woman. In the course are any means that can weaken the manifestation of the symptom. They must first all be approved by the gynecologist who leads the pregnancy and the gastroenterologist. Here are some examples of the most effective remedies for constipation:

Rectal suppositories

They are used in extreme cases when the situation is quite complicated and defecation is not observed for more than 5 days. The use of rectal suppositories must be prescribed by a doctor. They should not contain substances hazardous to the body of the mother and child.

The action of suppositories from constipation is soft and fast. Their use does not solve the chronic cause of constipation but helps to empty the intestines.


Drink plenty of clean water in large sips. This will help cleanse the intestines and remove toxins. Better if the water is warm. You mechanically push the stool out in this way. Consistent adherence to the drinking regimen can eliminate the problem of constipation.

Physical exercise

There is a special gymnastics for constipation that helps to eliminate stagnation in the intestines, improve peristalsis and push out feces. These exercises are aimed at stretching the muscles and improving blood flow.

You can do gymnastics in the pool or at home. It is better if it is under the supervision of a specialist. Sometimes simple squats or bends help.


Be sure to consult a doctor when the first signs of intoxication appear: headache, nausea, weakness, pain in the intestines, or rashes on the body. The reason for contacting the doctor should be frequent constipation with long intervals between bowel movements. Urgently address to the gastroenterologist if defecation occurs only once a week.

What Not to Do

Do not make mistakes when the first symptoms of constipation appear during the gestation period. Try not to use alternative medicine methods or other dangerous ways to deal with the symptom. Do not ignore the lack of bowel movements for a long time, considering that this is a normal manifestation of pregnancy. What exactly cannot be done with constipation:

Retain stool

Any business should be postponed if during pregnancy you have the urge to defecate. It is impossible to retain feces under any circumstances.

oral laxatives

Oral laxatives can only be prescribed by a doctor. This happens on very rare occasions. They are more aggressive than rectal suppositories and have a lot of contraindications.

Massage the belly

Any massage is prohibited during the gestation period. It severely disrupts blood flow and changes the movement of lymph. Massage can harm the baby.

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