faded image of a woman on the toilet holding her stomach

Constipation during pregnancy

Constipation is having trouble emptying your bowels on a regular basis, often referred to as “feeling bound up”.

What causes it?

As your food digests during pregnancy, your bowel muscles slow down their motions in order to take all the nutrients they possibly can for your growing baby. This is a result of the extra progesterone in your system, meant to make things easier for delivery.


Although laxatives help constipation, many healthcare providers recommend avoiding them during pregnancy. These might be a quick fix for your plumbing problems but they can cause more harm down the road, but you should ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions. Stool softeners, however, are generally safe to use during pregnancy. Some things you can do are slowly working fiber into your diets with some raw foods, drinking fluids like smoothies, water, juices, probiotics, and getting up and getting some exercise! Prolonged constipation can lead to uncomfortable hemorrhoids, so it's important that you talk to your healthcare provider about resolving the constipation early.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • Sir John Dewhurst. Dewhurst's Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 8th ed. Keith Edmonds. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2012. Print.
  • CS Bradley, CM Kennedy, AM Turcea, SS Rao, IE Nygaard. "Constipation in pregnancy: prevalence, symptoms, and risk factors." Obstetrics & Gynecology. 110(6):1351-7. Web. 12/10/2015.
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