What Can I Take For Constipation?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I am now 6 weeks pregnant and I am constipated. Can I take a mild laxative, if it exists? If I can't take a laxative what should I do? This feeling is very annoying and I hope you can give me some advice. Thank you in advance for taking time out to read my email.

ANSWER

First, you can really increase the amount of fiber in your diet (whole grains and veggies to start) and make sure you are getting at least 3 quarts of water per day. We don't usually recommend laxatives in pregnancy as they can be addictive, but a stool softener may help -- ask your caregiver what she recommends.

-- Cynthia, CNM

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Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.