Many women will notice constipation as the pregnancy progresses. This is typically caused by several things. First, your prenatal vitamin contains iron in it which can worsen constipation. Because of normal changes in blood volume and blood counts, most women become anemic throughout pregnancy and are prescribed even more iron! Second, the hormone responsible for keeping the uterine muscles relaxed so that you do not have uterine contractions have some effects on the motility of the bowel wall. Because of this, food stays in the bowel longer.

What can you do about it?

▪ Eat a diet rich in fiber

▪ Exercise

▪ Stay hydrated! Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Remember, water is better for you than tea or soft drinks—these contain caffeine which may serve to worsen the dehydration

▪ Bulk laxatives such as Metamucil, Citrucel, or Fibercon

▪ If none of these are effective, you can take colace, a stool softener found over-the-counter at your drug store. We do not recommend the use of stimulant laxatives (laxatives that cause contraction of the intestinal walls).