There is no agreement as to what constitutes normal bowel habits. The range for “normal” bowel evacuation is as often as two times a day to once a week. Many people believe that if one does not have a bowel movement every day, they are constipated. This is not correct as long as your personal pattern is consistent. Symptoms that are not normal include straining with the stool, incomplete evacuation or stools that are too small or too hard. There are many causes for bowel problems: lack of adequate water intake, lack of adequate fiber intake, and lack of adequate exercise.

Due to your body’s hormonal changes during pregnancy, transit time will be longer. The use of iron supplements during pregnancy also promotes constipation. To treat constipation, increase fluid intake and increase your fiber intake to reach 25–35gm daily. You may use a fiber supplement such as psyllium, Metamucil,® Benefiber® or Fibercon® pills. A stool softener like Colace® (docusate) can also help. Miralax® is a stimulant-based laxative that is also safe to use when pregnant.


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