There’s no denying that pregnancy brings a myriad of changes, from the miraculous to the mundane. Just when you think you’ve navigated the morning sickness or adjusted to your expanding belly, another issue might quietly creep up: constipation.

Constipation during pregnancy can occur during any trimester, but it tends to be more common and noticeable during the second and third trimesters due to a combination of hormonal shifts, physical changes, and dietary adjustments. 

As a pregnancy dietitian, I often work closely with folks to tackle this discomfort head-on, offering practical advice and strategies to promote digestive health and alleviate constipation. Let’s dive into WHY you may be experiencing this uncomfortable symptom and what you can do next to experience relief!

Understanding Constipation During Pregnancy

Generally, constipation during pregnancy is caused by a few factors:

  • Elevated hormones (specifically progesterone)
  • Your uterus may be blocking your colon
  • Lower physical activity (due to pain, body changes, fatigue, etc.)
  • Slower gastric motility
  • Increased water and electrolyte reabsorption from the colon back into the body Secondary effects of iron and calcium supplements

Causes of constipation can actually change throughout pregnancy and may vary based on your specific trimester (which is why it can be helpful to try different remedies as what works for you may change as your pregnancy progresses).

  • First Trimester: Some folks may experience constipation early in pregnancy due to hormonal changes, particularly the rise in progesterone levels. This hormone can relax the muscles in the digestive tract, slowing down bowel movements.
  • Second Trimester: Constipation might continue or become more pronounced during the second trimester. As the uterus grows larger, it can put pressure on the intestines, contributing to slower digestion and bowel movements.
  • Third Trimester: Constipation can persist into the third trimester for many people. By this stage, the uterus is significantly enlarged and can exert more pressure on the intestines, exacerbating constipation. Additionally, as the baby grows, there is less room in the abdomen, which can further impact digestive function.

During pregnancy, changes in diet, hydration, physical activity levels, and the effects of prenatal vitamins can all influence bowel habits. This is why expectant mothers need to adopt strategies to promote regular bowel movements. Read on for some of my favorites!

Remedies For Constipation During Pregnancy

I aim to provide pregnant individuals with a comprehensive toolkit of strategies to manage constipation effectively. Instead of relying solely on medication or solely on dietary changes, we take a holistic approach, customizing solutions to fit your specific needs and preferences.


Fiber is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, especially when it comes to managing constipation effectively. It comes in two primary forms: soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble Fiber: As the name suggests, soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. This type of fiber can help soften stool and make it easier to pass through the intestines.
  • Insoluble Fiber: In contrast, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Instead, it adds bulk to stool, which can help promote regular bowel movements by speeding up the passage of food through the digestive system.

For pregnant individuals dealing with constipation, a balanced intake of both types of fiber is beneficial. While insoluble fiber provides bulk, which aids in regular bowel movements, soluble fiber helps soften stool, making it easier to pass.

How Much Fiber? It’s recommended that pregnant folks aim for about 35 grams of fiber daily from a variety of whole food sources. Here are some practical tips to increase your fiber intake:

  • Include Vegetables: Aim to have 1-2 cups of vegetables at each meal. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, and bell peppers are rich in fiber and nutrients essential for pregnancy.
  • Incorporate Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are a versatile source of fiber that can be easily added to your diet. Try them in smoothies, chia pudding, or mixed into oatmeal for a nutritious boost.
  • Embrace Dark Leafy Greens and Berries: Foods like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and berries (such as raspberries and blackberries) are excellent sources of fiber and antioxidants. They can be added to salads, smoothies, or enjoyed as snacks.
  • Include Healthy Fats and Proteins: Avocado, nuts (like almonds and walnuts), seeds (such as flaxseeds and sunflower seeds), beans, lentils, and winter squash varieties (like butternut or acorn squash) are not only rich in fiber but also provide essential nutrients like healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins.

By gradually increasing your fiber intake from these whole food sources, you can help alleviate constipation without experiencing bloating or worsening symptoms. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as fiber works best when accompanied by adequate hydration.


pregnant woman with brown hair sitting on bed drinking water, constipation during pregnancy

Hydration plays a crucial role alongside fiber intake. Without adequate fluids, fiber cannot do its job effectively, potentially worsening constipation. Here’s how to ensure you’re getting enough hydration to support digestive health:

Why Hydration Matters: Fluids are essential for maintaining proper digestive function, especially when consuming a fiber-rich diet. They help soften stool and aid in its smooth passage through the intestines, preventing the discomfort of constipation.

How Much Water to Aim For: During pregnancy, it’s recommended to aim for at least 100 ounces of water daily. This amount may vary based on individual needs and factors such as climate and physical activity levels.

Making Hydration Enjoyable:

  • Use a Stainless Steel Water Bottle with a Straw: Investing in a quality water bottle with a straw can make hydrating throughout the day more convenient and enjoyable.
  • Flavor Your Water: Infuse your water with slices of fruit (like lemon or berries), citrus (such as oranges or limes), or herbs like mint and basil. This adds natural flavor without the extra sugar found in many flavored beverages.
  • Incorporate Herbal Teas: Herbal teas are hydrating and can provide additional health benefits. Consider varieties like raspberry leaf tea (beneficial in the third trimester for its uterine toning properties), peppermint (known for its soothing effects on the digestive system), and ginger (which can help alleviate nausea and aid digestion).
  • Seltzer Water: If you enjoy carbonation and it doesn’t cause discomfort, opt for sparkling water or seltzer as a refreshing alternative to plain water.
  • Coconut Water: Naturally rich in electrolytes, coconut water not only hydrates but also replenishes essential minerals like potassium, making it a great choice during pregnancy.
  • Bone Broth: Warm and comforting, bone broth can be a nutritious addition to your hydration routine. Jazz it up with ingredients like lemon, ginger, parsley, cilantro, or turmeric for added flavor and potential health benefits.

By incorporating these hydrating options into your daily routine, you can support your digestive health and ease the discomfort of constipation during pregnancy. 


Why Movement Matters: Physical activity encourages the muscles in your abdomen to contract, which can promote the movement of food and waste through your digestive system. This can prevent constipation and contribute to overall digestive health.

pregnant woman sitting on yoga ball and stretching

Types of Pregnancy-Friendly Movements:

  • Short Walks: Taking daily walks, even if they’re brief, can be incredibly effective in stimulating bowel movements. Aim to incorporate walks into your daily routine, whether it’s a stroll around your neighborhood or a short walk during your lunch break.
  • Yoga: Gentle yoga poses such as cat-cow stretches and twists can help improve digestion by massaging your abdominal organs and encouraging the flow of food through your intestines. Always practice yoga poses that feel comfortable and safe for your pregnancy.
  • Exercise Videos: There are many pregnancy-specific exercise videos available online that cater to expectant mothers. Websites like Fit Pregnancy Club and YouTube channels such as Pregnancy & Postpartum TV offer a variety of prenatal workouts, including pilates and low-impact exercises designed to support pregnancy and promote overall well-being.

Staying Motivated:

  • Explore Online Resources: Websites and social media platforms dedicated to prenatal fitness offer a wealth of resources. Check out fitness programs like Fit Pregnancy Club for pregnancy-friendly pilates workouts or Pregnancy & Postpartum TV on YouTube.
  • Multitask: Listen to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks while walking. This can make your walks more enjoyable and help pass the time effortlessly.
  • Socialize and Connect: Make movement a social activity by inviting your partner, kids, or friends to join you for walks. This not only promotes physical activity but also provides an opportunity to connect and share moments together.

By incorporating regular movement into your daily routine, you can support healthy digestion and potentially alleviate constipation during pregnancy. 

Positioning and Posture

Proper positioning and posture are crucial factors in promoting comfortable and effective bowel movements, especially during pregnancy when constipation can be a common issue. Making simple adjustments in your bathroom routine can significantly aid in relieving constipation discomfort.

Using a Squatty Potty or Stacked Yoga Blocks:

  • Squatty Potty: Elevating your feet with a squatty potty or a similar device mimics a natural squatting position, which aligns the rectum properly for easier elimination. This position can help relax the muscles around the pelvis and allow for smoother bowel movements.
  • Stacked Yoga Blocks: If you don’t have a squatty potty, stacked yoga blocks or sturdy books can serve a similar purpose. Place them under your feet to achieve a squat-like position while seated on the toilet..

By incorporating these simple adjustments into your daily routine, you can optimize your bathroom posture and potentially alleviate constipation discomfort during pregnancy. 

Additional Tips For Constipation During Pregnancy

If the tips listed above still aren’t working, you can consider incorporating the following:

  • Magnesium Supplements: If recommended by your healthcare provider, magnesium supplements like magnesium glycinate or citrate can help relax muscles and support bowel regularity.
  • Healthy Fats: Incorporate sources of healthy fats, such as avocados and nuts, into your diet to support overall digestive health.

Personalized Support for Your Pregnancy Journey

Navigating pregnancy symptoms like constipation can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our team of dietitians specializes in supporting expectant parents through personalized coaching sessions tailored to your unique needs.

Whether you’re dealing with constipation, nausea, or any other pregnancy-related issue, we’re here to provide guidance and practical solutions to help you feel your best. Click here to learn more and take the first step toward a more comfortable and enjoyable pregnancy journey.

PS: We do accept insurance! Learn more about this here.

Remember, you deserve to experience this remarkable time with as much comfort and confidence as possible. Together, we can ensure you’re nourishing yourself and your baby while managing common pregnancy challenges effectively. Here’s to your health and happiness throughout your pregnancy!

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