Pregnancy is the dearest wish of a lot of women. One can conceive and give birth to a healthy child without difficulties; another can hardly do it at all: only years of treatment and planning provide her with a chance to make her dream come true. Women trying to conceive can’t wait for a missed period when it makes sense to use a pregnancy test, and at the same time, they are paying a lot of attention to any unusual symptoms. They are right: almost every time the female body gives something away even before the test shows the second line. Among the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, there can be various manifestations in different parts of the body. So, is constipation a sign of pregnancy? Yes, it’s one of the most widespread early pregnancy symptoms.
Is constipation a sign of pregnancy or an ailment?
A lot of women suffer from constipation quite frequently throughout life. That’s why we have to understand when constipation indicates pregnancy and when its occurrence has nothing to do with childbearing.
You can consider constipation one of the earliest pregnancy signs in the case when it’s accompanied by the following symptoms:
- A missed period;
- Breast changes: it increases in size, blood vessels under the skin become visible;
- Frequent urination: the uterus increases in size even during the first three-four weeks of pregnancy. Internal organs in the pelvic area begin to shift, and that can cause not only constipation but also frequent urination;
- Sensitive breasts: pain or discomfort in the area. The woman can’t lie on the belly, any touch is unpleasant;
- Unusual vaginal discharge: if after the ovulation the egg is fertilized, it implants into the uterine wall. This process can cause characteristic vaginal discharge containing some blood. Women often mistake these excreta for a period;
- Spasms in the pelvic area. Sometimes the woman feels nagging pain in the ovaries while coughing, sneezing or changing position of the body – it happens due to the ligaments stretching (because the uterus weighs more now);
- Morning sickness;
- Nausea, vomiting;
- Mood swings;
- If this pregnancy is not the first, and during the previous one the woman was suffering from hemorrhoids, the problem can appear again now;
- Increased basal temperature;
- Strange food cravings.
All these symptoms are not as accurate as a pregnancy test, so their appearance isn’t a 100% guarantee of a successful conception. But if you’ve noticed three or more of the signs, use a test! In the case of a positive result, consult your healthcare provider in order to confirm the diagnosis.
The causes of constipation in early pregnancy
If you have a bowel movement less than three times a week or feel that your intestines are overfilled and your belly is bloated, you most likely have constipation.
What changes in the female body during pregnancy can lead to such a digestive disorder? Here they are:
- Hormonal changes. In order for the pregnancy to be going alright and for the embryo to attach to the uterus, the female body produces far more hormones than usual. Progesterone has an influence on bowel movements. Its main function is not to let the uterine muscles contract. Due to the fact that the uterus and the intestines are controlled by the same nerve plexus, there is constipation.
- Since the first days after the conception, the woman has constant urges for sleep and is less physically active. This leads to the reduced bowel tone and, therefore, to constipation.
- A lot of women prepare for the pregnancy: they are taking vitamin complexes containing trace elements in advance. The high quantities of potassium and iron in the organism can result in constipation.
- Nausea, morning sickness, and strange food cravings are leading to the changes in eating schedule. The future mother is eating very little or, to the contrary, can eat anything at all: sweets, salty things, smoked products, etc. An unhealthy diet ends in constipation too.
- Frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration. In this case, the body is getting water anywhere it can, including fecal masses. Dry excrements are another reason for constipation.
- Stress and mood swings can result in difficulties in the bathroom as well. It’s a psychosomatic mechanism.
- Thrush during early pregnancy can end in the intestinal dysbacteriosis. You can’t avoid problems with bowel movements in this case.
All the early pregnancy signs are in fact related to each other. One of them triggers the other, and so on. Sleepiness, mood swings, changes in the diet are usually not as obvious as constipation, that’s why future mothers most often notice it first.
What you should know about constipation as the first sign of pregnancy
The most unpleasant thing about constipation as the first sign of pregnancy is that the woman, still unsure of the reality of her pregnancy, can harm herself with a wrong medication. Thus, for example, she can cause a miscarriage by a cleansing enema or laxative suppository.
So, it’s very important not to self-medicate if you suffer from constipation but suspect you are pregnant. First of all, consult a gynecologist!