Constipation is really common in pregnancy and the postnatal period in part due to the huge and amazing changes occurring within our bodies (that’s for another post). Constipation can have a negative impact on our pelvic health being one of the culprits of back and pelvic pain and repetitive straining can increase the risk of pelvic organ prolapse. It is also one of the main ways your body gets rid of waste products. Avoiding or dealing with it should be near the top of your list.
Here are our top tips! BRISTOL STOOL CHART: We would advise aiming for a type 3-4! 1. Positioning. Place feet on a step, slight lean forward at the hips and relaxed breathing or imagine you are blowing out candles. Don’t ever strain. This explains further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYcv6odWfTM 2. Good hydration and Diet. Drink plenty of water throughout the day – simple but effective! Having a warm drink when you wake up in the morning can have a stimulating effect on the bowels. For certain people specific foods may be more ‘binding’ such as dairy, processed and fried foods so decrease these. Generally, increasing wholefood meals including plenty of veg and fruit are beneficial to your gut. Adding raw fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kombucha can be a bonus. If all else fails, try having a shot of prune juice or a few prunes just before bed and/or try adding some flaxseed into your diet e.g. mixed into porridge, cereal. 3. Abdominal massage Gentle massage of your abdomen as shown in the picture can help. Start on your lower right side and with sweeps or circles move upwards, across the transverse colon and down your left side. Finish by taking your hand off and repeat on the right side again x approx. 10 4. Move everyday Just a 20min walk a day can be a great way to get your bowel moving. Choose something that you find FUN, then you are more likely to do it! 5. Breathe and relax! Slowing down for just a few minutes can help stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system aka Rest and DIGEST. This can be particularly helpful at meal times and afterwards to promote better digestion and bowel movement. If you need help with this there are many apps available such as ‘Calm’. If you have tried these tips and are still struggling with constipation consulting a health professional such as your GP or a nutritionist can be helpful.'