Maybe it’s too much information. Certainly we often don’t feel comfortable bringing it up in conversation even with our closest of friends. But we all experience it at some point during and after pregnancy, and we all want to know what to do about it… constipation.
There, I said it. So now that it’s out there, we can move on from the awkwardness of bringing it up to talking about solutions.
The drastic hormonal shifts during and after pregnancy are the primary culprit for the stopped up feeling. Other factors include activity level, diet, and stress or anxiety.
Here are 5 things you can do today to get you going:
Drink 10 glasses of water a day. Dehydration worsens constipation. When your body needs water, your bowels slow even more and feces become harder. Simple as that. Before you have anything else to eat or drink, down 2 glasses of water. Then drink water steadily throughout the day.
Exercise regularly. Walking 20 to 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace not only burns calories and increases strength as well as muscular and cardiovascular endurance, it also stimulates intestinal movement.
Eat your fiber. Fiber makes the digestive process work more efficiently. Since fiber is not absorbed or digested by the body, it moves through the digestive tract, pushing all other intestinal contents with it. Soluble fiber also helps with constipation by absorbing water to make stools softer. Natural sources of fiber include all fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, and legumes like beans and lentils. Some fiber-packed options: broccoli, pears, raspberries, split peas, lentils, black beans, and artichokes. Add a cup of bran cereal to your diet every day to boost your fiber quotient. All Bran does it for me, every time.
A simple stretch (or two). Who knew that these great stretches for the low back are also good for intestinal health!?
Knee to Chest: Lying on your back, draw your right knee in toward you chest while keeping the left leg straight; hold it for 5 deep breaths to stimulate the ascending colon. Release and switch, straightening the right leg and drawing the left knee in toward your chest; hold for 5 deep breaths to stimulate the descending colon. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Lying Twist: Lying on your back with knees bent and arms stretched out to the sides in a “T”, drop your knees to the left then extend theright leg to straighten the knee. Hold it for 5 deep breaths then repeat on the right. Do 3 to 5 reps on each side.
Take your time. Try to give yourself the time to go in the morning. After you’ve had your 2 glasses of water and high fiber breakfast, sit down to read the news or write a couple of emails for 10 minutes. Often, that’s all it takes to get things moving. If your first thought after reading this suggestion was “Yeah right, who has time for that?”, you must simply make the time. Get up 10 minutes earlier and put it into your routine. You will see the results immediately and will be a happier mama for it.