Researchers find bowel problems are common during pregnancy

During your pregnancy, you may find that you'll experience a number of unpleasant symptoms, many of which extend beyond the first trimester. For example, while most women know that they can expect nausea in the morning early on in their pregnancy, they may not realize that it can be extremely common to experience other stomach and bowel related issues throughout the entire course of their pregnancy. 

Recently, researchers from Loyola Medicine found that an estimated three out of four women have constipation, diarrhea or other bowel disorders during their pregnancies. While these issues were found to only mildly affect a woman's life, these findings are still important to note so that all pregnant women know that if they experience any of these disorders, they aren't alone. 

A common problem
The researchers surveyed more than 100 women about bowel issues during pregnancy. Once they learned how often the women were experiencing these problems, they asked them to score how much these issues affected their quality of life on a scale of one to 100. According to the scientists, 100 represented the least possible impact on life, while one indicated that these bowel problems were greatly affecting quality of life. On average, the women gave a score of 94.9 percent.

The scientists said that it's likely that women did not think that bowel issues greatly impacted their lives because they were expecting to experience some levels of discomfort while pregnant. 

Researchers Scott Graziano, M.D., and Payton Johnson, presented their findings at the 61st Annual Clinical Meeting of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in New Orleans. They recommended that to combat constipation - which was the most common issue reported - women should be sure to get plenty of fiber and drink fluids throughout the day. 

Best ways to get fiber 
The Mayo Clinic states that there are many simple ways to add more fiber into a diet. For example, 1 cup of cooked, whole wheat spaghetti can deliver more than 6 grams of fiber, while 1 cup of raspberries can offer you 8 grams of fiber. 

Other foods that are rich in fiber include pears, apples, bran flakes, air-popped popcorn, peas, lentils and black beans. There's sure to be at least one or two foods on that list that you enjoy, and all of them are healthy for both you and your baby. 

Did you experience constipation, diarrhea or other bowel issues while pregnant? What did you do to get rid of them? Comment here!