During pregnancy constipation can become a problem. The combination of slower digestion, less room for food, and iron supplements makes it harder for your body to poop.
After birth weaker abdominals or unbalanced seperation, scar tissue, pain medication, and lack of activity can lead to constipation.
Constipation is defined as having less than 3 poops a week. This can cause straining, pressure on the bladder which may lead to incontinence or urinary urgency, and hemorhoids. Chronic constipation which is considered if you've been constipated for longer than 3 months.
When you have difficult pooping, you tend to strain. This straining can stretch the pelvic floor weakening the muscles and tissues. Not being able to poop can make you irritable, sluggish, and can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction.
There are ways to help avoid constipation during pregnancy and after birth.
Here are a few of my tips to stay regular!
1. Stay active
Movement and exercise helps your gut stay balanced. It increases blood flow to the gut. It improves tissue mobility and intestinal motility.
2. Be core aware
Have a strong and functional abdominal wall gives the intestines support. This means making sure that you reconnect to the abdominals properly after birth and being tested for a diastasis recti (dysfunctional abdominal separation).
3. Eat recommended daily fiber
Mix up the type of fiber you do eat. Eating fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains ensures you get both soluble and insoluble fiber, which keeps your gut more balanced.
4. Drink recommended daily water
During pregnancy and postpartum your water intake should increase than your regular amount due the increased demand on your body. Drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water is recommended.
5. Discuss iron intake with practitioner
If you need to take an iron supplement, there are ones out there that are non constipating.
If you had a csection doing scar massage will help make sure no scar adhesions disrupt your digestions.
Using your breath to help you relax the pelvic floor.
When you poop your pelvic floor is meant to relax. This naturally happens when you inhale. Focusing on opening your pelvic floor on inhale rather than holding your breath will get the respiratory diaphragm to help push the poop out while the pelvic floor is relaxed.
If you are prone to constipation, there is no better time to focus on staying regular than now.