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to just want a STRAIGHT ANSWER so I can stop worrying about Movicol in pg?

(51 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 08:40:39

I am getting totally conflicting advice and getting more and more worried and in a state.

I was diagnosed with slow-transit constipation last year which basically means I have very little peristalsis in my colon (nerve endings are 'faulty' IYSWIM). The ONLY thing that works for me is Movicol - I spent almost a year prior to diagnosis trying everything else, from prunes to bran to exercise to water to vegetables... also tried lactulose, Fybogel etc. Movicol was and is the only thing that makes my colon function. My gastroenterologist put me on a regime of Movicol twice a day and lactulose four times a day which worked fine until I got pregnant.

I am now almost 9 weeks and that regime is barely working any more. I have had to increase the movicol to 3 times a day and I am only just barely managing to keep 'moving' on that.

I knew movicol is 'not advised' during pregnancy but I really have no choice. But I had hoped I might be able to cut it down at some point, maybe to just once a day, but now that the hormones are kicking in, as I say, I am on 3 a day.

Gastro (who doesn't seem even remotely concerned about use of movicol in pregnancy which should reassure me but doesn't because he is quite gung-ho and I don't think knows anything about pregnancy stuff) is unconcerned about the movicol... Midwife is VERY concerned about the movicol and says she never recommends it. She did understand when I explained that this is a long-standing problem and that movicol is my only solution, but still pulled faces and said we'd have to keep an eye on it. I stupidly didn't ask her WHAT the problem with movicol is and now am imagining terrible damage being done to the baby and don't know what to do.

GP is vague and just says 'we'll keep an eye on it' - am not sure what that is meant to mean!!!

Does ANYONE have any advice about this, whether because they used Movicol in pregnancy or whether they have any medical knowledge? My impression was that movicol is not advised as a regular thing but if mother's health requires it then it is OK - but I am just so worried that in the amounts I am having to use atm I am harming the developing embryo in some way sad

DozyDuck Mon 13-Aug-12 08:43:32

Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been established. It is not recommended for use in pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
This medicine can be used by women who are breastfeeding. The medicine is not absorbed into the bloodstream in significant amounts and no harmful effects on a nursing infant are expected. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.

So basically they don't know

DozyDuck Mon 13-Aug-12 08:44:48

Or this... Doesn't sound like they're sure in humans yet

WipsGlitter Mon 13-Aug-12 08:47:40

Is there a helpline number on the packaging? You could phone the manufacturer and ask why is it contraindicated in pregnancy. Generally most drugs are "not recommended" when you are preg but I think it is more that they haven't been able / willing to test it on a large number of pregnant women so they can't say for sure if it does any harm.

DozyDuck Mon 13-Aug-12 08:49:43

Sounds like they think it's safe but aren't going to put their jobs on the line for it iyswim.

You'll just have to make a decision yourself. If you really have no choice, carry on. If you think you can cope without it (which doesn't sound like an option in your case) then stop it.

There isn't enough information so you'll just have to make a frustrating decision based on nothing sad

If it was me I wouldn't... But then I've never had to deal with being constipated like that before so I can't really say either sad

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 08:50:41

Thanks DozyDuck... yes that is what I feared... nobody really knows. Horrible to have to take something that MIGHT be damaging sad I really don't like having to take 3 sachets a day as that is upper end of daily reccommended amount even for non pg people. Maybe I'll be able to cut it back later on but at the moment it's the only option sad

Sossiges Mon 13-Aug-12 08:50:44

I'm sorry, I can't answer your question about Movicol, but have you tried magnesium? You can get it as a supplement i.e. from Boots and it is the best thing for constipation ever. Perhaps if you tried it and it worked ok for you you'd be able to get off the Movicol and then you wouldn't have to worry about it. AFAIK it's fine to take in pregnancy (I do), it's a vital mineral and most people are deficient in it.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 08:51:45

Wipsglitter - thanks good advice, will see if there is any number.
But yeah DozyDuck, it sounds like one of those things where they don't want to say for sure it's safe in case they get bitten on the bum, as it were, later on.

Sossiges Mon 13-Aug-12 08:52:42

Sorry I meant the best thing for constipation EVER

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 08:52:53

Sossiges thanks, I did use some supplements like that early on when I first got the constipation problem and at first they were a big help and then they stopped having much effect. Could try to add them, though, and see if that might mean I can cut the movicol down a bit.

BikeRaceRunningRaceNoSkiing Mon 13-Aug-12 08:56:47

I had movicol and lactulose when I was pg, all fine, but was also vvvvv constipated at 9 - 12 weeks.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 08:59:02

BikeRace thank you for posting!!! You're the only other person I've found who took movicol in pg!!!
Can I ask how much you took and for how long?
What advice did you get from docs/midwife etc?
Was your baby OK...?
Oh and one final question, sorry - did the constipation go away a bit later in pg?

4aminsomniac Mon 13-Aug-12 09:04:29

I take Movicol and have dome for years for constipation connected to pain killers.

My GP has told me categorically that it is not absorbed by the body at all, it just stays in the gut and absorbs water. I was worried because I take loads of different drugs, and want as little as possible circulating in my bloodstream.

Every one is always cautious in pregnancy, but I really wouldn't worry about this one. Your Gastro doctor will have weighed up the risks for you and the baby and decided it is OK. Even if doctors seem gung ho they are always very careful about pregnant women, and the possibility of being sued, so if he says it is OK, I would trust him on that!

Zzzzmarchhare Mon 13-Aug-12 09:08:24

Most hospitals have a medicines information department, usually in the pharmacy. They will have access to studies etc and might give you info for you and your dr. If you phone the main switch board they should be able to put you through. They might be a bit less "computer says no" than the company.

BikeRaceRunningRaceNoSkiing Mon 13-Aug-12 09:09:34

I took about 3 sachets a day for about a month. Prescribed by hospital doc, then topped up by GP. That was in second pg, took Lactose in both PG. Both babies completely fine. Cobstipation cleared up in second trimester both times, but when I went, I really went!

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 09:20:13

4aminsomniac thank you - what a great and clear GP you have!! I had heard this thing about it staying in the gut and not entering bloodstream but midwife seemed to contradict that.

BikeRace thank you - you don't know how much that has helped me!!

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 09:21:18

Alos thanks zzzmarchhare - that is a good suggestion, computer says no is exactly the problem I think I have been running into!!

phlebas Mon 13-Aug-12 09:31:49

I was prescribed movicol while pg with my last child & ds1 (5yo) has been using it for nearly two years - both his consultant paediatrician & my consultant obstetrician agree that it is not absorbed & acts as a stool softener by absorbing water in the gut (it is inert, not even a laxative which stimulates the intestine). Midwives generally don't know much about drugs - they have very limited prescribing lists - & I would be looking for a doctor to give advice about medication in pregnancy rather than a midwife, it really isn't part of their remit.

BionicEmu Mon 13-Aug-12 09:33:27

Movicol is basically a very large type of sugar molecule. It doesn't get absorbed by the body, it just passes through and attracts water molecules, making the stool easier to pass through. (That's how I've had it explained to me anyway!)

My DS has been taking Movicol since he was 2 weeks old on advice of his paediatrician, so it seems fine for newborn babies too.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 09:34:32

phlebas - thanks so much - again I am so happy to hear from someone who took movicol in pregnancy! Did you take it throughout the entire pg or just in the early stages?

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 09:36:28

BionicEmu - that's v interesting, thank you so much, I didn't know it was a 'kind of' sugar molecule though it makes sense as obviously lactulose is a sugar. I too was under the impression it was not actually a laxative (like senna etc) which is why I've been so thrown by the fact that GP and midwife (though I accept that midwife may not have expert medications knowledge) were so down on the whole idea and did all their face-pulling!!

sancerreity Mon 13-Aug-12 09:43:59

its not really a drug .its just water absorbing granules

emeraldgirl1 Mon 13-Aug-12 09:48:54

sancerreity - thank you!!
I do feel a lot better about this now and will discuss with midwife when I next see her (in the hope that this time she'll avoid the disapproving face-pulling...)

foreverondiet Mon 13-Aug-12 10:00:13

I was given movicol when breastfeeding - and that was just as a "precaution" (I had anal fissure and colo-rectal surgeon didn't want it getting worse... but he told me not to use a specific cream which I was then told was ok by the Breastfeeding Support Network.

I think if gastro says its ok and you need it you'll have to go with that. I would ignore midwives concern she is not a doctor.

BionicEmu Mon 13-Aug-12 10:04:14


I sympathize greatly with this situation too. I have chronic back pain due to kyphoscoliosis as well as schizophrenia, and am currently 16 weeks pregnant. Trying to get pain management consultant, psychiatrist and obstetrician to agree on medications is proving impossible. My MW is "staying well out of it" though, in her words!

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