Oct 13, 2011

Pregnancy Constipation

LADIES THIS IS NO JOKE!!  No worries, I expect you to laugh at this blog like it is a big ass joke, but please when you are done peeing your pants heed my warning… Pregnancy Constipation is by far the worst symptom of pregnancy I’ve had so far.  Yes, even worse than my lethal embarrassing gas!

So here is the run down on the gnarly constipation before I get to why I could barely walk last night and why I was up all night.

Courtesy of my friends at the American Pregnancy Association. http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/constipation.html

What causes constipation during pregnancy?
In general, worry, anxiety, minimal physical exercise, and a low-fiber diet may cause constipation. Constipation in pregnant women is thought to occur due to hormones that relax the intestinal muscle and by the pressure of the expanding uterus on the intestines. Relaxation of the intestinal muscle causes food and waste to move slower through your system.
Sometimes iron tablets may contribute to constipation. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water if you are taking iron supplements. You may need to switch to a different type of iron tablet, but it is important to talk to your health care provider first.
How can I prevent or treat constipation during pregnancy?
Prevention and treatment of constipation involve much of the same thing. Here are a few things that you can do to help prevent constipation from occurring or treat it if you are already experiencing it:
Eat a high fiber diet: Ideally, you will consume 25 to 30 grams per day of dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, breakfast cereals, whole grain breads, prunes and bran.
Drink a lot of fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids is important, particularly with your increase of fiber. Drink 10 to 12 cups of fluids each day. It is the combination of a high fiber diet and lots of liquid that best help you eliminate your waste. Sweat, hot/humid climates, and exercise may increase your need for additional fluids.
Exercise routinely: If you are inactive, you have a greater chance of constipation. Walking, swimming and other moderate exercises help the intestines work by stimulating your bowels. Schedule exercise three times a week for 20-30 minutes each.
Over-the-counter remedies: There are over-the-counter products such as Metamucil (Catergory B) which may help soften your bowel movements and reduce constipation. Always speak to your health care provider before using over-the-counter medications.
Reduce or eliminate iron supplements: Iron supplements may contribute to constipation. Good nutrition can often meet your iron needs during pregnancy. Taking smaller doses of iron throught the day rather than taking it all at once can reduce constipation. Talk to your health care provider about checking your iron levels and recommendations to manage iron intake during pregnancy.
What remedies should not be used for constipation during pregnancy?
Laxative pills are NOT recommended for the treatment of constipation during pregnancy because they might stimulate uterine contractions and cause dehydration.
Mineral oils should NOT be used during pregnancy because there is an increased reduction in nutrient absorption.

Ok, back to me and my horrible experience, warning it’s going to get candid and ugly.  I honestly cannot tell you how long it had been since I “excavated my bowels,” but maybe 2-3 days, a week, I don’t know. Trust me, now I will stay on top of it and be proactive after 2 days.  So, last night I am feeling very uncomfortable and decide it’s time for an excavation.  Long story short, three hours, lots of yelling, crying, straining and pushing later I produced NOTHING!  Seriously, at one point I yelled out, “I don’t care if I get hemorrhoid get out of my body!”  God help me and my poor rectum I think I nearly got hemorrhoids. 

My husband realized I was not joking and started doing research on what I could do for immediate relief.  Lucky for me, my husband always looks for the worse scenario and boy did he find it, women who had not slept in days, “plugs” that are basically hardened dehydrated BM that cannot be passed, bleeding, tearing, and the list goes on...  Vomit!!  Still, this is all so real and horrible I cannot begin to tell you!  Believe it or not, if you have gas you are ok, if not the plug has taken over and the ER is your next stop. 

I decided after 3 hours and terrible pain I needed a warm bath and rest.  I could barely sleep from the pain and discomfort and even peeing was a chore.  When I couldn’t take it anymore I got out of bed and went to my local drug store and bought “Colace,” which is a safe stool softener (for me, ask your doctor what's best for you). I also went to the grocery and bought all of the fruits, vegetables, and fiber rich foods I could get my hands on.  It has now been 24 hours since that hellish experience and I am much better.  The Colace did the trick about 4-6 hours after taking it and the extreme pressure and discomfort have subsided. 

I never want to go through that again and I never want you to either! Please be proactive about this, go out and get some stool softener NOW!  If I had it last night I would have slept, and not have some residual pain now.  Also get up and make a huge glass of water and drink it--8 times a day, then stuff your guts with high fiber food.  Y’all I am traumatized, if you can’t already tell. It was the worst experience and I have no doubt I will face it again before my baby gets here.  I will however do everything I can to prevent that level of hell.  Please do the same…

I will leave you with this little bit of laughter from Mr. Piss Legs himself.  He really was worried about me and kept yelling through the door, “be careful baby you might tear your “A-nouse” or “the bloody internets say this could be serious, try to relax your “A-nouse” breathe and play Angry Birds on your phone for a distraction.”  Every time he would call it an “A-nouse” instead of an anus, I would laugh so hard I nearly did rupture the Anouse. Thank God I have him for times like this.  

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


  1. Yikes! In all my reading I have not once read about the "plug." Thank you for alerting everyone that it requires medical attention.

    I have been very fortunate in this department. I had only two weeks where it was a problem and then I re-eliminated drinking milk, eating yogurt and ice cream and cottage cheese (regular cheese is o.k.) and it went away. I think also because I'm taking a food sourced pre-natal with natural iron and not a ton of it that has kept the demon at bay.

    I do try to eat lots of fiber and drink lots of water, but the dairy was the culprit for me.

  2. I am starting to get constipated now, too, but I don't like or feel comfortable taking pills of any sort. What I do is squeeze some lemon juice into a large soon then put some organic extra virgin olive oil on top of that and drink it. It works really well. Orange juice and prune juice is also highly recommended.

  3. Thanks ladies! I need my dairy for cereal and yogurt and Dairy Queen! Miss Natalie. I like the Olive Oil Lemon Juice cure. I am just wondering, I just made a salad dressing of the two, I hope that will still work? I also have a glass of OJ every morning-It's one of my cravings!

  4. I'm convinced that dealing with pregnancy constipation is a cruel way to give us first time moms a glimpse of pushing during labor. :)

  5. Sista... I think you are on to something because I am a professional pusher now!!