Posted January 2, 2013 in PREGNANCY

How to Prevent Pregnancy Constipation Naturally

What Activities should I Avoid while Pregnant
What Activities should I Avoid while Pregnant

Constipation during pregnancy can make you miserable!

One of the secrets to having a healthy pregnancy is to know what to do naturally to prevent constipation from happening in the first place. It’s especially important to gain control over your bowels during this time. Often this can be because of the new baby growth and weight in the womb, or it’s possible that he will move in a way to put pressure on your intestines that can end up leading to constipation.

Three Easy Ways to Remedy Constipation Naturally

Constipation is actually pretty easy to remedy, no matter how big your baby gets. That’s because certain substances found in foods and herbs have a direct action on the nerves in the colon. These substances stimulate the nerves and then the colon gives you the signal that it is time to have a bowel movement.  This type of action is mechanical in nature, similar to putting a key in a lock and the lock opens.

1. Aloe Vera Juice

The primary substance that stimulates the nerves in the colon is called emodin. This natural substance is found in aloe vera juice. This is what makes the stool looser. The action is simple: you drink a certain amount of aloe vera juice and then the nerves are stimulated and out comes a bowel movement. If only labor could be that simple!

The best type of aloe vera juice to use is George’s aloe vera juice, which comes in half gallon and gallon-sized jugs. Adding ½ cup George’s aloe to your mealtimes will turn around constipation quickly. You can even use a maintenance dose of a shot glass or more at each meal to eliminate any possibility of constipation. With the regular consumption, regularity results.

George’s aloe vera is debittered and tastes just like purified water (not tap water). It’s not difficult to get down, however, some of the others on the market are quite bitter. Aloe vera is safe for moms and their babies, too.

2. Slippery Elm Bark Powder

The second way to prevent constipation is to use slippery elm bark powder. Simply mix about a tablespoon in with 1/3 cup applesauce. You can add a little honey or agave and cinnamon if desired.

What will happen is the applesauce will thicken and get to a consistency of oatmeal. Slippery elm is a mucilaginous herb, meaning it forms mucilaginous fibers or threads when mixed with other substances. The mucilaginous fibers are food for your colon, and fiber for your colon. The herb is said to act as an intestinal broom for the body.

The beauty of slippery elm bark powder is that it’s used in herbology as a remedy for constipation and for diarrhea and gentle enough for babies to consume, too. It’s funny how this herb somehow knows what to do for your colon when colon function is off kilter even though there’s a world of difference between diarrhea and constipation.

3. More Fiber in Your Diet

Often pregnant moms believe that the way to get more fiber in their diet is with psyllium fiber tablets or powder mixed in juice. One heaping teaspoon provides about 3 grams of fiber.

Psyllium fiber is another mucilaginous herb, much like slippery elm bark powder. Mucilaginous herbs draw water to themselves. Psyllium has the ability to absorb up to 100 times its weight in water. This is why psyllium forms a gel in the glass of water or juice that you added it to.

The gel it forms is a good thing to occur; however, if you take too much of it, psyllium can form a temporary blockage in the colon, especially if you aren’t drinking enough water.  A blockage is the last thing you want when you’re pregnant.

Since you really don’t get that much fiber from one serving of psyllium compared to what you need per day, it’s more effective to revamp your diet rather than expect that a serving or two of psyllium is enough to prevent constipation. Three grams or six grams a day coming from psyllium is really not enough to make a big difference when you need 25-30 grams fiber per day!

The easiest way to revamp your diet is to consider adding three excellent sources of fiber to your meals daily. Vegetable and fruit fiber is more easily tolerated in the body than psyllium or grain fibers that tend to clog the intestinal tract if increased suddenly. Vegetable and fruit fiber will never clog the intestinal tract.

One pear provides 4 grams of fiber and it’s easy to add a pear as a snack daily. One medium apple provides 3.7 grams. With these two fruits alone, you’ve hit the mark of almost 8 grams fiber added to your diet.

Next, why not add ½ cup black beans, providing a big dose of 8.5 grams fiber? One half a cup is easy to consume and you would now be up to 16.2 grams fiber.

Sixteen Brazil nuts provides 4.2 grams fiber and insures that your selenium status is boosted. Selenium is very important for immunity and detoxification. That’s about a large handful.

And a half-cup of cauliflower, broccoli or asparagus provides about 2.7 grams fiber each. Choosing two of them, your fiber jumps to the normal amount needed per day of about 26 grams, not counting the other foods you eat.  See how easy it is to get your 30 grams per day?

Visit http://www.globalrph.com/fiber_content.htm to count your fiber intake easily for each day. After about a week, you’d easily get the process down and not need to do it anymore!

Dr. Donna Schwontkowski is a guest health writer and Nutrition Expert.