Constipation During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Constipation is so common that it's rare for moms not to experience it.


Some pregnancy annoyances are discussed in polite company. Morning sickness, check. Swollen ankles, check. But irregularity? It's pretty much in the closet. Heartburn, constipation and indigestion are not uncommon, though, thanks to the hormone progesterone, which relaxes your stomach muscles, slowing digestion.

"Constipation is so common that it's rare for new moms not to experience it," says Mavis Schorn, Ph.D., C.N.M., director of the nurse-midwifery program at Vanderbilt School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn. Anesthesia administered during labor, and narcotic pain medication given after, can cause the sluggishness too. And if you had a Cesarean section, your bowels may be in full revolt. "The trauma of surgery really makes things grind to a halt," she adds. Wondering when you'll start to experience constipation? Which foods pack the most fiber and how much do you need? You'll find answers to these questions—and more—in the articles below.

Ask the Experts: Preventing Constipation Why is constipation a problem during pregnancy, and can it be prevented?

In The Rough During pregnancy, you need fiber more than ever to keep things running smoothly.

40 Weeks By week 22 you may be developing hemorrhoids and constipation.

The Rough Stuff Why you need fiber and where to get it.

Slow Going Constipation is so common that it's rare for new moms not to experience it.

Super Foods The best mix of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients comes in nature's packages. Try berries, broccoli, and legumes to get 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day.

Recipe: Chickpea Salad

Recipe: Penne with Chicken and Broccoli

Recipe: Red Lentil Soup

Recipe: Bulgur Breakfast Bowl