- With Mayo Clinic certified nurse-midwife
Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M.read biographyclose window
Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M.Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M.
Mary Murry is a certified nurse-midwife in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
Murry, a Cincinnati native, has been a nurse-midwife practitioner for more than 20 years and is an instructor at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. She was a contributing reviewer and writer of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book.
Her research interests include adult female survivors of sexual abuse, women's perception of pain in labor, and obesity in pregnancy.
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Aug. 19, 2011
Pregnancy constipation: Seeking relief
By Mary M. Murry, R.N., C.N.M.
Pregnancy triggers many physical changes in your body — some quite aggravating. During my first pregnancy years ago, the worst of these changes was constipation. In fact, after all this time, I've convinced myself that pushing out a baby was easier than having a bowel movement.
If you've never been constipated or you think all the ads about regular bowel movements are silly, don't assume you're immune to the condition. Constipation in pregnancy and after delivery can happen to anyone. It isn't inevitable, though. To prevent constipation in the first place, consider these tips:
- Drink more fluids. During pregnancy, waste moves through your body more slowly than usual. This allows water to be removed from the waste, which contributes to constipation. Keeping well hydrated can help keep bowel movements soft. Fluids count after the baby is born, too, especially if you're breast-feeding. Your body will take all the fluids it can get to make breast milk. If you're not drinking enough fluids, the result might be uncomfortable constipation.
- Include more fiber in your diet. Think whole grains in foods such as breads and muffins, as well as fruits, vegetables and beans. With your health care provider's OK, you might also consider fiber additives that are mixed with water.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can help keep your bowel movements regular.
- Consider stool softeners, if your health care provider approves. Stool softeners help moisten bowel movements.
I don't recommend laxatives for constipation during pregnancy unless you've cleared it with your health care provider. Some types of laxatives can be used safely in pregnancy while others aren't recommended.
Don't be like me with my first pregnancy. Take care so constipation doesn't become a problem — and no more laughing at fiber and laxative commercials! You could be next.blog index