Constipation is a common problem for moms and babies. Learn about constipation pregnancy symptoms and for breastfed babies, causes, treatment and home remedy.
What is Constipation?
Constipation is the decrease or stoppage of bowel movements which can be caused by normal or abnormal conditions. It may also be referred to as bowel obstruction, which means that your intestines are blocked and you cannot have a bowel movement.
Pregnancy and Constipation
Constipation is one of the most common challenges during pregnancy, and it can be very frustrating for parents. Constipation during pregnancy can be a difficult condition to deal with. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of constipation in order to avoid long term complications that may arise from the condition.
Pregnancy causes a decrease in pelvic floor muscle strength and tone, which leads to an increase in the pressure of bowel movements.
Causes of constipation during pregnancy can arise from many reasons including:
- Excessive coffee consumption
- Excess of calcium in the diet
- Inadequate magnesium intake
- Lack of physical activity
Although pregnancy hormones can result in other digestive changes like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea… Pregnancy and constipation is very concerning because it has longer term consequences for both mother and baby.
As the fetus grows inside of you, so does the amniotic fluid that cushions your baby. If there isn’t enough fluid to protect the baby’s delicate head and spine, then there may be pressure on these areas which can cause head-related injuries or even death.
Constipation for Breastfed Babies
The most common cause of constipation for breastfed babies during the first few weeks is dehydration. The lack of fluids can lead to constipation because the body needs to drain its waste accumulations and becomes dependent on food.
Top 5 causes of constipation for breastfed babies:
- Unbalanced diet
- Improper breastfeeding technique
- Low levels of iron (i.e infant formula that lacks iron)
Constipation Pregnancy Symptoms
Constipation can be an uncomfortable experience, but it’s usually minor. The more serious constipation pregnancy symptoms for nursing mothers include:
- Difficulty nursing
- Lack of milk production
- Feeling bloated
- Low back pain from constipation
- Pain and cramping in the breasts
- Having abdominal pain or cramps
- Bowel movements that are hard, dry, and difficult to pass
- Passing black stool
- Passing blood in stool
- Passing mucus in stool
Bloating, nausea and pain in lower back are some of the most common constipation pregnancy symptoms.
Constipation Symptoms for Breastfed Babies
Constipation is a common problem during breastfeeding that can drastically affect the baby’s health. It is important to prevent this issue and to treat it quickly when it starts.
Here are the most obvious constipation symptoms for breastfed babies:
- Change in baby’s bowel movements
- Baby’s stool changes from soft to hard (dry and crumble)
- Decreased movement
- Excessive crying
- Poor feeding
Breastfeeding can help to prevent constipation in infants, but it’s important for the mother who is breastfeeding not to neglect herself. It is common for pregnant women to experience constipation, which can affect breastfeeding.
If you or your baby is experiencing any of these constipation symptoms, talk to your doctor right away to see if a treatment plan is suggested.
Constipation treatment and natural home remedy during pregnancy:
1. Drink Water
Drink enough water. A lot of pregnant women underhydrate, which can make things worse. Water helps increase the volume of stool, which results in softer stools and less strain on the intestines.
2. Drink Milk
Drinking full-fat of warm milk per day will help you to relieve constipation during pregnancy.
3. Drink Honey
One teaspoon of honey in warm water or milk is sufficient to treat constipation during pregnancy.
4. Eat More Fiber
Fiber slows down transit time through the gastrointestinal tract (GI). Abdominal pain with constipation is common and fiber-rich food provides immediate relief for constipation, abdominal cramps and nausea.
5. Take Probiotics
Probiotics are simply a friendly bacteria which will help in normalizing bowl movements. Yogurt is a good choice for natural probiotic source.
Exercising at least 30 minutes every days is recommended for pregnant women. Exercising will help in treating constipation and preventing it. Exercising can include: (walking, swimming, Yoga, and stretching).
7. Watch for Constipation Signs
Don’t ignore constipation if you’re warning signs of it (example: Pressure in your stomach, Pain in your pelvis or lower back, Heavy feeling in your legs) those are all signs that something is wrong and you should see a doctor to make sure everything’s OK.
If you need to take medicine for constipation during pregnancy, you might want to speak with your doctor to choose over-the-counter medication (such as milk of magnesia) rather than prescription drugs.
8. Relax and Unwind
Stay away from stress as possible and allocate sometime during the day to take a rest, read a book or take a warm bath.
Food That Helps Constipation
Here are some good food for constipation relieve that make mom’s life easier:
They are high in fiber and important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
These fruits have dietary fibers, which provide bulk to eliminate waste from our body as well as help to normalize bowel movements.
3. Blackberries and Blueberries
Promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.
Constipation treatment and natural home remedy for breastfed babies:
1. Water Intake
Give your baby enough water to drink in order to relieve constipation and get things moving in the bowl.
2. Fruit Juice
Juicing fresh apple, pear, plum, peaches or prune fruit is known to cure constipation in infants within a few hours.
3. Fruit Mash
Skinless apple, pear, plum, peaches or prune are also good foods to help a baby with constipation when blended in warm water.
4. Tummy Massage
Give your baby a delicate tummy massage and gently move your baby’s legs mimicking bicycle riding movements.
Constipation Baby Karo Syrup
Karo syrup is not recommended for breastfed babies with constipation because of the high fructose corn syrup (high in sugar). Karo syrup does not pull water into the intestine nor helps in softening the baby’s poop.
Constipation endometriosis is a condition that causes pain, cramps, and bloating. It’s usually the result of inflammation in the lower part of the uterus, which can develop because of a number of factors like use of hormonal birth control, lack of fiber intake or ovarian cysts.
Did you know that apple juice is a great way to help relieve constipation? It’s because of the pectin which is a soluble fiber that expands inside your intestines, carrying water along with it to create a much easier passage when you go.
Constipation Black Stool
Constipation Stool with Blood
Chronic constipation regularly causes dark stool because it prevents food and waste from passing through properly.
Black stool can also be a sign of an internal bleeding in the stomach or the intestine, or other serious health problems such as hemorrhoids or rectal cancer.
There are many causes for constipation stool with blood and not all causes are life-threatening. It is possible that your stool could change colors because of what you’ve eaten recently. You should see a doctor if you have a black stool or stool with blood.
Most frequently asked questions and suitable answers about constipation during pregnancy:
1. How to stop severe constipation?
Stay hydrated and drink water, drink warm milk mixed with honey, increase fiber intake in your diet, take probiotics and exercise regularly.
2. What food helps constipation?
Constipation food to eat should include high-fiber foods like Fruits (apples, berries, pears..) and Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, beans..) and Oatmeal.
3. Does banana cause or help constipation?
Banana does not cause constipation but rather help. Banana has a lot for fiber and it is an excellent source of magnesium, which both can help to relieve constipation.
4. Do probiotics help constipation?
Yes. Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria that can help relieve constipation by increasing the amount of natural bacteria in the intestine. Eating yogurt with live cultures is a natural way to incorporate probiotics into your daily diet.
5. Can constipation cause headache?
Yes. If your body is unable to digest food, your digestive system will have to work harder. This results in strain on the body and cause headache
6. What is the cause of chronic constipation?
Chronic constipation is caused by the muscles of the colon unable to contract well and cause the bowel to be either backed up or too loose. It can also be caused by a lack of fiber, fluids, high stress or poor diet. You should see a doctor in case of continuous occurrence of constipation.
7. Will constipation cause high blood pressure?
Yes. Constipation can cause high blood pressure, but only if it is caused by chronic constipation. When you have a lot of feces lodged in your colon, they put pressure on the veins that carry blood into your colon. This leads to a less efficient delivery of blood and an increased risk of having hypertension.
8. Is constipation a sign of kidney failure?
Yes. It may be a sign of kidney failure. If you have a kidney function issue, this can lead to irregular bowl movement like constipation. The kidneys are responsible for processing the blood, including producing urine and removing excess water from the body. If you have a chronic constipation, ask your doctor to check your kidneys functions.
9. Does vitamin D cause constipation?
Yes. When you get a lot of vitamin D in your system it can make your stool too solid; causing constipation. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it is stored in fats and once ingested, it is transported through the bloodstream.
10. Are constipation and acid reflux related?
Sometimes Yes. The acid reflux, which is caused by the stomach’s production of stomach acid, can sometimes lead to chronic constipation. In certain cases, a person with chronic constipation may also experience acid reflux.
11. Can hemorrhoid cause constipation?
Yes. Hemorrhoids can cause a strain on your bowel movement because of the swollen veins on the top of your anus making it difficult to pass stool, which may cause constipation.
12. Can antibiotic cause constipation?
No. Antibiotics can rarely cause constipation. Antibiotics usually cause diarrhea and nausea.
13. When to worry about constipation in toddler?
When these symptoms show up: Long constipation, abdominal pain, fever, increased frequency of stools, hard or dry stool, blood in stool, and increasing mucus in stool.
14. What to do about constipation?
Prevention is the best cure! So consider a healthy diet and lifestyle to avoid constipation. When you are having constipation, try the above mentioned home remedies or talk to your doctor to advise on the course of treatment.
There are many ways to treat constipation pregnancy symptoms and for breastfed babies such as adding more fluids to the diet and taking fiber.
To cure constipation: Drink plenty of water, drink warm water mixed with honey, drink warm milk, eat foods that are rich with fiber, enjoy drinking apple juice and other fruits like berries, and don’t forget to exercise more often. These are simple ways to relieve your constipation quickly and naturally!
Watch for some alarming constipation symptoms like when the stool color turns black or when there is blood or mucus in the stool and take an appointment with your doctor.
References related to constipation pregnancy symptoms, causes and treatment: