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6 Diet Tips to Manage Constipation during Pregnancy & Postpartum

Struggling with constipation during pregnancy or postpartum? You’re not alone!  

Constipation is one of most common complaints I see during pregnancy and postpartum and most of the time it can be easily improved with some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle (with the help from a qualified and experienced dietitian - this is one of those times where DIY isn’t recommended as you could actually make it worse) 

The updated 2022 WHO Guideline - Recommendations on Maternal and Newborn Care for a Positive Postnatal Experience showcased the role of dietary interventions & value of a dietitian in the prevention of postpartum constipation with diet being the recommended first line of treatment and the use of laxatives only being recommended if diet had been implemented prior with no improvement. Setting up good habits during pregnancy will only further support your postpartum experience.

Here are 6 general tips to help you get things moving 

  1. Get enough fibre daily, this includes total intake and a balance of both insoluble and soluble fibre (each type plays an important role when it comes to having a healthy bowel movement, insoluble helping to bulk the stool & push it through vs soluble fibre helping to soften the stool and slow digestion. You can see how easily, if one is out of balance that it could worsen constipation and how important getting this balance right is!

  2. Drink enough water, around 60% of your body weight is water and it’s needed for every single body function. So many mamas struggle to drink enough during pregnancy and postpartum, and if you’re postpartum and breastfeeding your requirements are even higher again! Aim to refill a 1L drink bottle at-least twice throughout the day as a good place to start.

  3. Get moving daily in a way that you enjoy, gone are the days where you need to exercise to extremes and pregnancy and postpartum is definitely not the time to be doing this. What you’re aiming for is to be consistent and in order for you to do something over and over again to build a habit you need to enjoy it and it needs to fit easily into your life. Start with small achievable goals and work your way up from there.

  4. Using a foot stool may help to improve toilet positioning, minimise straining and allow an easier bowel movement. Chat to one of our Physiotherapist’s here at Female Focus for tailored guidance and a 1:1 assessment

  5. Review your dietary supplements to rule out anything that’s worsening symptoms, this could include fibre supplements or high dose iron supplements as a start

  6. Include probiotic rich foods for a daily dose of good gut bugs to support your microbiome + enjoy the added nourishment from dietary fat, protein and calcium 

Need more help? For individualised guidance Aleisha is in clinic on Tuesdays from 9-4pm. Book here

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