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Constipation during Pregnancy


To most people, constipation is simply a matter of a slow-moving or lazy bowel. Yet,  as many studies confirmed constipation is serious and should not  be ignored.

During pregnancy constipation is very common. First of all the increased levels of progesterone and estrogen caused by pregnancy aid in relaxing the smooth muscle of the body and this would include the muscles of the digestive tract, making bowl movements sluggish and slow.

Another reason might be that many  women, during pregnancy also suffer from nausea and as a result not enough fiber may be ingested as well as vital fluid necessary to moisten and regulate our digestive function may be lost. Low iron levels means many women take supplements and sometimes these can be difficult to digest, leading to blocks in the digestive system.

Finally, in later months of pregnancy, constipation can also be caused by the growing uterus putting pressure on the rectum.

From a Chinese Medicine point of view many can be the causes of constipation, for  example it could be that  there is excess heat  in the motherʼs body, drying out the stool. It may be that her large intestine energy is stagnated through improper food or lack of exercise that, again, could lead to blockages.

As during Pregnancy is not recommended to use laxatives acupuncture can provide a subtle, safe and effective method of dealing with constipation.  Addressing the underlying issues, Acupuncture or Acupressure techniques can effectively re-regulate bowel movements.

There are many acupuncture points on our body and some are very effective in relieving constipation. These points lie on energy channels called meridians that, from a Chinese medicine perspective, make up our bodyʼs anatomy.

In combination with possible changes in diet and exercises, it is possible to maintain a healthy bowel movement throughout the pregnancy.

Some General & Simple Tips to Improve Constipation: 

  • Take 6-8 glasses of warm or room temperature water daily. (The warmth will help
  • soften the stool)
  • Increase intake of dried fruits; figs, prunes and raisins.
  • Include sunflower seeds, linseed in your diet
  • A gentle half hour walk daily will help with the circulation in the body.

Article by Natalia Gonzalez
Zanar Acupuncture & Integrative Healthcare
Killenard Village, Co. Laois

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