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Feeling a little, erm, ‘congested’ in the bowel department? Constipation can be disconcerting, especially with all those doctors and midwives prodding your tummy at every opportunity; and you will start to worry about what, in fact, you might end up giving birth to. For starters (and don’t worry, that’s not a food reference), your growing baby is putting pressure on the bowel, making everything take that much longer to process.
Pregnancy hormones have relaxed the muscles in the wall of the intestine so everything is moving along at a snail’s pace. As your poo trudges through your colon, more water than usual is absorbed and the stools harden, making it more of a struggle to push them out. With everything that’s going on, you might also be more tense than normal, causing the wall of your intestine to contract and – you guessed it – slow down bowel movements.
Some women find that certain foods, such as wheat and milk, make constipation worse. Another reason you might be clogged up is if you are taking either iron tablets or iron-rich pregnancy supplements. To aid absorption, take these one hour before a high-fibre meal with a vitamin-C-rich drink. You could talk to your doctor about switching to another type of supplement or dietary change instead.
The main thing you can do to avoid or relieve constipation is to eat lots of fibre, keep up your water intake and heave yourself off the sofa to engage in some moderate exercise. High-fibre foods include fruit, vegetables, wholegrain bread and cereals like porridge and All Bran. Try adding a tablespoon of linseed or flaxseed to your cereal or stir it up in a glass of warm water or juice.
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Discuss pregnancy ailments - warts and all
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