Mamas on Bedrest: How to Have “Smooth Moves”

October 8th, 2012

Greetings Mamas!

I had the great pleasure to chat for 30 minutes with a new (to me) mama on bed rest last week. (Get your COMPLIMENTARY, i.e. FREE 30 minute Bedrest Breakthrough Session now!)  She asked me,

“How can I deal with this ever growing constipation so that I have smooth movements and don’t develop hemorrhoids?”

Most if not all pregnant women will experience some irregularity with their bowel movements while pregnant.  Constipation is common because during pregnancy, a woman’s intestines intentionally slow transit of food so that the maximum amount of nutrients can be withdrawn and then transported to the baby. Pregnant mamas often experience this slowed transit as indigestion (especially if they eat too quickly or too much at one time), increased gas and constipation. When mamas aren’t on bed rest, increasing activity can help with intestinal transit. But for Mamas on Bedrest, their activity levels are markedly decreased. So how can mamas manage their digestion and subsequent bowel irregularities?

  1. Mamas should eat small frequent meals. Small frequent meals will ensure that mamas maintain stable blood sugar levels, avoid excessive hunger which can lead to increased nausea (especially in the early weeks of pregnancy), they won’t overload their intestines and they will reduce the occurrence of constipation.

  2. Drink lots of water. This may seem counter intuitive given that most pregnant women complain of increased urinary frequency. However, if mama becomes dehydrated, she is at increased risk of uterine irritability (uterine contractions and potentially preterm labor), urinary tract infections and, you guessed it, constipation. Mamas need to drink at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water daily, (more if they are in warmer climates). Mamas should also drink more water if they are exercising or experiencing urinary problems. Maintaining adequate hydration will ensure that mama has enough water on board  for her own bodily functions, as well as to support the increased blood volume of pregnancy, to make and sustain the amniotic sac and for the development of her baby.  Adequate hydration/fluid levels ensure that as food passes easily through the intestines, without bulking or retention. Inadequate water intake is a precursor to constipation, so drink up mamas! (And water, more so than other beverages is the best beverage!)

  3. Eat a diet high in Fiber. High fiber diets aid in the passage of food stuffs through the intestines. Fiber prevents food stuffs from becoming built up in the intestines and constipation from developing. Great sources of fiber are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans.

  4. Fiber Supplements. Many mamas, especially mamas on bed rest, benefit from using fiber supplements. One that we recommend is Fibergy, a product by USANA Health Sciences. This tasteless fiber blend can be mixed into any any liquid or food and aids in digestion and bowel regularity.  (For more information on this product or other digestive support, contact us directly at info@mamasonbedrest.com).

  5. Stool Softeners. Many obstetricians prescribe or recommend stool softeners, especially for mamas on bed rest. Stool softeners help prevent straining during bowel movements. Mamas on Bedrest, often for incompetent cervix, should not strain or bear down during bowel movements so that they won’t add pressure to an already stressed cervix, but also to avoid rectal trauma or hemorrhoid development.

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