Pregnancy Guidelines

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How to Avoid Constipation During Pregnancy

It is Murphy's law that just when you are able to get food into your body without having it come back up, that you suddenly find you can not get the food out of your body. Nearly half of all the women who are pregnant suffer from constipation during pregnancy.

As with all symptoms of pregnancy there is a reason for constipation. When you are pregnant your body creates progesterone which in turns relaxes the muscles of the bowels and causes your digestive tracks to work much slower. Your digestive track works slower to make sure your body absorbs the nutrients from your food for your baby. This can create constipation, which if it not kept under control, can lead to hemorrhoids.

There are some ways you can help avoid constipation throughout your pregnancy. Make sure you included plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber absorbs water and can help to soften your stools and speed their passage. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like whole grain cereal and oatmeal. Instead of eating white bread with your sandwiches, eat whole grain breads. Add some oat bran to your cereals or yogurt.

Fresh fruits are also an excellent way to get your fiber in. Melons and plums have a high amount of fiber in them as wells as dried fruits like figs, raisins, apricots and of course the well known favorite prunes. Prunes and prune juice have a like laxative effect and will help keep things moving properly in your body. Aim to eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. You can tell you are getting enough fiber if your stools are large and soft and you aren't straining to pass them. Keep in mind though that too much fiber can lead to diarrhea which can lead to dehydration so do not over do the fiber in your diet.

Also, drinking plenty of fluid will help you combat constipation. Fluids help keep digestive products moving through your system so it is very important for you to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. Keeping up with your fluids is important especially if you are increasing your intake of fiber. Your body needs to water to soak up the fiber otherwise it can cause more constipation.

Also, make sure you are eating your yogurt if you can. Yogurt has a bacteria called acidophilus that helps stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better. Look at your prenatal. Some of the prenatal that women take contain a lot of iron and iron can play a big part in constipation. Talk to your doctor to see if you can switch for a while to a different prenatal that contains less iron or at least stay off of the prenatal for a while until your constipation is under control.

Avoid foods that can lead to constipation. White bread and some cereals such as corn flakes can lead to constipation as well as white rice and bananas. If all this fails, give your doctor a call to see if there is something you can take to help keep you regulated. Most doctors will allow you to take Metamucil to help keep things moving.

Constipation is never pleasant but during pregnancy it can be even extra uncomfortable. Make sure you take the steps to avoid constipation. It will help make your pregnancy that much more enjoyable.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Healthy weight gain for pregnancy

Most doctors will tell you that you should gain anywhere between 25-30 pounds through out your pregnancy. You should aim to gain about 3.5 pounds during your first trimester, although more often than not most women find that they lose weight their first trimester. The culprit to this is morning sickness. Some women suffer from such a severe case of morning sickness they can not keep anything down. Chances are your doctor will not be too concerned if you lose a few pounds that first trimester as long as you gain steady throughout the next two trimesters.

Your second trimester is where you will probably put on most of your weight. Most women put on about a pound a week, so roughly four or five pounds a month which brings their second trimester weight gain to about 12-15 pounds. Some women put on more while others put on less. Do not be surprised if you put on a lot of weight one month and not so much your next.

For the 7th and 8th month you will should probably continue about a pound each week or so. Look to gain between 8 and 10 pounds those months. Most women find that their weight gain slows down in the 9th month. You might find your weight gain coming to a end as your due date draws nearer. This can be a sign that labor is on the horizon. Or, you may find that your weight gain continues especially if you are retaining a lot of water.

So where does all this weight go? It doesn't really make sense that you should gain between 25-30 pounds if your baby is only going to weigh between 7 and 8 pounds. Let's break down where the extra weight goes.

First, you have your baby. A average baby weights about 7 1/2 pounds. Some can weigh more and some weigh less. That amniotic fluid that your baby has been swimming in for the past nine months weighs about 2 pounds. Figure in about 2 pounds for your breast enlargement and 1 1/2 pounds for your placenta. Your uterus, which started off about the size of a golf ball has grown to weigh about 2 pounds. Your body should be producing about 4 pounds of extra blood by the end of your pregnancy and about 7 extra pounds of fat. Let's not forget the extra fluid of about 4 pounds that your body might be holding on to. All this equals to the grand total of about 30 pounds.

Now keep in mind this is just a estimate and not a guarantee of how your weight will fall. There are women who wind up having a 10 pound baby and others who have a 5 pound baby. The key is to maintain a healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy. Your body needs extra calories and it is best for you and your baby if those extra calories come from food that has a lot of nutritional value such as fruits, vegetables or protein. Staying away from junk for will help you curb your weight gain.

When it comes to taking the weight off, do not be surprise if your body hangs on to it especially those first days after delivery. Once you are home keep this in mind that it took nine months to gain that weight so gives yourself at least a good nine months to take it off.

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