Constipation & Haemorrhoids during pregnancy

High progesterone levels during pregnancy relax the muscles in the intestinal tract, slowing activity. The longer the passage through the intestinal tract, the more water is lost and the faeces become compacted causing constipation. Straining leads to haemorrhoids forming. Once you’ve got a new baby, bathroom time is cut in half.

  • Increase your water intake to 2-3 litres daily.
  • Start your day with a glass of hot water with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Naturopaths recommend this as a liver flush to help cleanse the bowel.
  • Closely examine your diet and cut down on wheat products, as they are mucus forming and slow the passage of digestion (many people have wheat intolerance without realising it).
  • Increase your vegetable intake particularly leafy greens, leeks, broccoli, and sprouted legumes. Lightly steamed vegetables are more easily digested. Raw vegetables can be too hard and irritate the digestive tract.
  • Food combining can improve a sluggish digestive system. This technique involves eating carbohydrates and proteins as separate meals as they require different enzymes during the digestive process. Eating them together can result in partially digested food remaining in your stomach and fermenting.
  • Check your mood and take time to relax before you eat as nervous tension disrupts digestion.
  • Avoid drinking when you are eating as liquids dilute the efficiency of your digestive enzymes. If you are thirsty, try herbal tea.
  • As a rule, drink half an hour before eating or wait for one hour afterwards.
  • ron supplements are known to contribute to constipation. Check with your health professional. Black strap molasses and parsley are easily assimilated sources of iron.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus, available in capsule or powdered form, helps balance the levels of favourable bowel flora (bacteria found in the bowel).
  • Try psyllium husks either blended in a smoothie or added to a glass of water or juice. Add a level teaspoon, stir and drink quickly to avoid the husks swelling too much.
  • Try a freshly squeezed juice of ginger, carrot, celery and apple juice.
  • Alternatively, prune juice is considered a natural laxative.
  • A teaspoon of black strap molasses in hot water twice daily increases your iron levels and promotes bowel elimination.
  • Prepare a bath with two drops of lavender essential oil to induce relaxation.
  • Excessive straining causes haemorrhoids.
  • Squatting exercises help improve circulation to the bowel (not recommended if you suffer from haemorrhoids).
  • Massage your abdomen in clockwise rotation with two drops of lavender and two drops of mandarin essential oils in a base oil. Work deeply to unblock the various sections of your bowel.
  • Prepare a lavender compress to ease abdominal pain.
  • Several yoga postures assist bowel function.
  • Reflexology accesses the bowels to promote elimination.
  • Self-help acupressure point Pericardum 6
  • Large Intestine 4, Stomach 36 (AVOID both these points during first eight months of pregnancy.
  • If symptoms persist, use a natural laxative (senna). Be sure to follow directions, as these can be highly effective. Using laxatives regularly adversely affects long-term bowel function.
  • Beetroot is another highly-effective natural laxative. It can be eaten or juiced and also helps in cases of anaemia by restoring the blood. For best results avoid buying beetroot packaged in vinegar.

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