Q: Why is constipation a problem during pregnancy, and can it be prevented?
A: Two factors contribute to constipation in pregnancy. The first is the body's increased production of progesterone, which relaxes not only the smooth muscle of the uterine wall but also of the intestinal wall and stomach, thereby making digestion sluggish. The second is the body's tendency to become underhydrated as it adjusts to an increasing blood volume. To help prevent constipation, drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Also exercise daily and eat more vegetables and dried fruits.