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.



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