Constipation and pregnancy

So many changes take place in a woman's body during pregnancy. Some are less favourable than others, like constipation. Let's look at the causes of constipation during pregnancy and what you can do to feel better.

What are the causes of constipation during pregnancy?

For pregnant women, constipation is a very common condition. It affects at least half of all pregnant women at some point, and tends to be more troublesome in women who were already prone to constipation before pregnancy1,2. Let's explore several causes of constipation during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes

During pregnancy, the body is expanding, evolving, and creating increased amounts of hormones. Rising progesterone levels and reduced motilin hormone levels can increase the time it takes for waste to move through the bowel. These hormonal changes can also increase water absorption from the intestines, which leads to hard, dry poo which is difficult to pass. Together, these changes can slow down intestinal transit2,3, making you less regular.

Physical changes

Towards the end of pregnancy, the expansion of the uterus can put increased pressure on the intestines. As a result, the intestines may need more time to process digestion, which can make you feel rather uncomfortable and constipated. Usual signs of constipation during pregnancy include abdominal pain or discomfort, difficult and infrequent bowel movements, and hard poo, which can hurt to pass.

Diet changes

One of the other causes of constipation during pregnancy is diet. Whether you are already pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, a healthy, well-balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your future child. Certain foods can exacerbate constipation, including dairy or red meat. The vitamins and supplements you may take during pregnancy, such as iron or calcium, can also trigger constipation2.

It's always best to speak to your doctor about signs of constipation during pregnancy.

How does pregnancy change your body?

Pregnancy creates a lot of change in a woman’s body. This includes hormonal changes and, of course, a growing uterus which can press against the lower bowel in the later trimesters. Let's explore some of these changes, and discover how they can be common causes of constipation during pregnancy:

A few tricks to get things moving

To start feeling better, the first step is to look at your lifestyle. Review your habits, and see if anything in your daily routine could be the cause of your constipation. Start by making small changes, and notice how your body reacts.

The Dulco® range

Dulco® products help get your digestive system moving. We have different types of relief available, including gradual relief, overnight relief and fast relief. All will make you feel lighter, brighter and clearer.

Stay in the know

Constipation can be bothersome and persistent. Because we know how frustrating and stressful it can be, we can help you identify the causes of constipation during pregnancy and how you can prevent it.

    1. American Pregnancy Association. Constipation in Pregnancy. 2020.

    2. Harms RW. Mayo Clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy. 2011. Mayo Foundation for medical education and research.

    3. Trottier M, Erebara A, Bozzo P. Treating constipation during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2012 Aug;58(8):836-8.