Constipation in Pregnancy

According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 38% of women experience constipation during pregnancy. Pregnancy comes with discomforts of its own, so pregnant women want to relieve constipation symptoms as quickly and safely as possible.

If you are pregnant, always consult a physician before taking any constipation medication.

What Causes Constipation During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones relax the intestinal muscle, which causes waste to move more slowly through the gastrointestinal tract. While constipation can occur at any stage, later in pregnancy the expansion of the uterus puts pressure on the intestines which also slows the passage of food and waste.

Many pregnant women take iron tablets or pregnancy vitamins with iron; these can increase the risk of constipation. When taking iron supplements of any kind, it’s vital to drink plenty of water to help keep the gastrointestinal tract hydrated.

Natural Remedies to Relieve Constipation

It is always recommended to try natural remedies first to relieve pregnancy constipation. Here are some natural remedy suggestions to prevent and/or relieve constipation symptoms:

Daily Fiber: Between 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day is recommended, and it can be found in fruits, whole-grain breads, prunes, bran, high-fiber breakfast cereals, and vegetables such as carrots, beets, broccoli, swiss chard, artichokes and spinach.

Hydration: Pregnant women should consume between 10-12 cups of non-diuretic fluid per day. This requirement varies with elements like environment (hot/humid weather), and exercise (sweat), so be sure to consult with a physician to determine your daily hydration needs.

Exercise: Inactivity increases the chance of constipation, so moderate exercise 2-3 times per week helps prevent and alleviate constipation. Walking, swimming, and pregnancy-safe yoga are good examples of moderate exercise that are generally safe for pregnant women.

Laxative Use During Pregnancy

If fiber, non-diuretic fluids, exercise, and other natural remedies do not effectively relieve constipation, your obstetrician may recommend reducing or eliminating iron supplements as a first course of action.

For medicinal constipation relief, the American Pregnancy Association recommends using a mild laxative, , or a stool softener that contains docusate, which are generally considered safe for pregnancy. It is important to note that everyone is different, and every pregnancy is different, so be sure to speak to your obstetrician before trying any constipation medicine.  

If mild laxatives do not relieve constipation, it is time to speak to your obstetrician.

The DocuSol® and DocuSol® Plus Advantage

When your regular bowel protocol isn’t working to relieve constipation, enemas can help you get things moving again. It’s important to choose an enema that is safe and relieves your symptoms quickly, and be informed about the best choice for you. Always consult a physician before using enema products.

The DocuSol® mini-enema delivers 283mg of docusate sodium and functions as a stool softener hyper-osmotic laxative by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues, softening the stool and promoting a bowel movement. DocuSol® and DocuSol® Plus are popular choices due to the fast, predictable results (typically in 2-15 minutes), non-irritating formula, and flexible tip for ease of use.

DocuSol® Plus has the same active ingredients but contains an additional 20mg of benzocaine, assisting in the anesthetization of the rectum and lower bowel. The formulation was developed for patients who experience hemorrhoids, fissures, or painful bowel movements.

Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Quest Products, LLC and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2020 Summit Pharmaceuticals and Quest Products, LLC.   Sources: