Any type of pain during pregnancy is scary, especially when it is your first child and don’t know what to expect. I wanted to do everything I could to provide my baby with a healthy, happy, stress-free place to grow. I worked out everyday, took my prenatal vitamins, attended all my doctor appointments, and avoided all the questionable stuff you are supposed to; no medication, alcohol, caffeine, highlighting your hair etc. Everything was going great until about week 15. I had piercing abdominal pains in the form of cramps and nothing I did seemed to relieve them. I called my doctor crying on the phone asking if I should go to the hospital. I was told that I was probably dehydrated and needed to drink 15 oz of water in two hours and stay off my feet for at least 4 hours after that. I decided to try it and if it didn’t work then I would go to the hospital. It didn’t work, drinking that much water so quickly made sick and laying there for 4 hours was so uncomfortable. I did notice that the pain started to move lower in my stomach and around to my back and I had a very slight sensation to go to the bathroom. After about an hour of sitting on the toilet, I had the most painful bowel movement. It was as if a bunch of hard jagged rocks had formed in my bowels and it was a very difficult effort to get each one out. But once I was finished, the cramping was gone and I felt like new.
I called my doctor the next day and asked if the pain and constipation was normal, she said yes that constipation is very common during pregnancy and suggested two types of over the counter medication to help with the pain. Colace to prevent the constipation and Milk of Magnesium if the constipation still occurs and to drink plenty of water and exercise. Although I was relieved that it was not anything serious I was very hesitant and disappointed that medication was my best alternative to dealing with the cramps the constipation was causing. I was already eating a very healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of fluids. I had been doing so well not taking any medication, not even the ones safe to take during pregnancy and was determined to find a natural way to relieve the pain.
After trying several different techniques, I found two natural, non-medicated ways to relieve the pain of constipation. It was the combination of body position and hot lemon water. I know it sounds simple, but it worked and was the only thing that worked for me. Once I felt even the slightest constipation cramp I would immediately prepare the hot lemon water.
Make the water as hot as you can stand to drink it. Then squeeze several lemon pieces into the water, I used about four slices and then added a teaspoon of sugar to make it sweet. It actually tasted good, almost like lemon flavored tea. The heat of the water and acid of the lemon act as a diuretic and help to keep the feces moving.
The next step is to remove the presser off your bowels. If you look at pictures of how your organs adjust during pregnancy, you will notice that the bowels get pressed and cramped up towards the back of the body to make room for the baby. Leaning forward helps to take the weight of the baby off the bowels and allows them to open slightly making it easier for the feces to move through.
You could rock side to side on your hands and knees while watching TV, lay in the sleeping baby yoga position on the bed at night, or just sat on the couch and leaned forward onto a medicine ball to relieve the pressure.
This made a world of difference. I continued to have constipation during my pregnancy but the lemon water and body position completely alleviated the cramping and made the process of going to the bathroom much quicker and easier. These remedies even worked when I had to add an iron pill to pre-natal vitamin which can increase constipation. I know this may be too much personal information but it is advice I wish I would have had sooner in my pregnancy. There are enough other uncomfortable things you have to endure when you are pregnant but now, hopefully constipation won’t be one of them.