Being pregnant is such an incredible feeling – it’s the miracle of life. However, so many women suffer from common pregnancy “symptoms” like morning sickness, while others suffer from those in addition to irritable bowel syndrome. Learning how to cope with IBS and pregnancy can make your nine months more pleasurable, as they should be.
One thing’s for sure – you’re not alone in dealing with IBS and pregnancy. The problem is that most don’t recognize that the common GI changes that come with pregnancy are multiplied when you have IBS. For example, an expecting mother often experiences heartburn and constipation, a result of prenatal vitamins and the growing baby that pushes against the organs. Then, add the IBS symptoms of bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and so on to the mix, and it’s utterly miserable.
Read also: IBS Diagnosis & How to Know If You Have IBS
Pregnancy can undoubtedly worsen IBS. For some, it could mean bowel movements become more and more infrequent – as little as once or twice a week!
Pregnant with IBS – Ways to Improve Symptoms
The first thing you must do is discuss the matter with your doctor. Together you can help to limit the frequency of flare-ups and even prevent them altogether. All it takes is a few lifestyle changes – and they’re worth it just to feel better.
It is imperative for a pregnant woman, who in the past, would treat constipation and other digestive problems with medication. These medications may be harmful to the unborn baby, so ask your doctor which are safe to take and can still give you help for IBS.
Help for IBS and Pregnancy
Drink! Drink! Drink! Stay hydrated to avoid constipation, or at least reduce it. It’s best to drink warm liquids and water is always the best option. Also, prune juice can help.
Fruits! Eat a lot of fruit to give you the fiber you need to help with constipation. Don’t stop at fruits though! Enjoy other fiber-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, and pulses. However, when increasing fiber, do so gradually and with increased water consumption. Eating too much fiber on a daily basis could actually have adverse effects. Just take it slowly. Also, avoid vegetables that are known to be gassy like cauliflower and broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and beans.
Stool softeners recommended by your doctor will prove beneficial but take only as directed. Avoid any stimulant laxatives, however.
Exercise! Keep walking because it will improve digestion. Try a brisk walk for about 30 minutes every day. Yoga is another excellent form of exercise that also helps you to relax, which is extremely important for pregnant women who suffer from IBS. Discuss exercise routines with your doctor beforehand!
Knowing how to cope with IBS and pregnancy together can make your 39 weeks more comfortable and less strenuous on the baby too.