Can I take laxatives if I am pregnant?
Constipation is a common condition in pregnancy. Constipation occurs in pregnancy due to an increase in the hormone progesterone and an ever-growing uterus taking up space and cramping other organs. There are many ways to avoid or reduce constipation during pregnancy:
- Drink plenty of water. You should drink 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
- Make sure you keep up a high fiber intake.
- Eat prunes, or drink prune juice. Prunes are a natural laxative and can easily be added to your daily diet.
- Exercise. Walking, swimming and yoga are excellent at keeping your digestive track moving.
- Take a natural over-the-counter laxative. Bulk-forming laxatives (such as Metamucil and FiberCon) and stool softeners (such as Colace) are the only kinds recommended for pregnant women.
You should stay away from mineral oil as a laxative. Mineral oil can prevent important nutrients from being absorbed into your body. Castor oil should also be avoided, as it may cause premature uterine contractions. Stimulant laxatives such as ex-lax should typically be avoided. If you cannot reduce your constipation to a manageable level through the above means, you should speak with your physician to find another solution.