5 Tips to Combat Pregnancy Constipation

This natural remedies will help you get things moving during pregnancy.

5 Tips to Combat Pregnancy Constipation

Among the various pregnancy symptoms to experience, constipation ranks at the top for many women. Why is that? Because during pregnancy, there's an inevitable spike of the progesterone hormone, which relaxes intestinal muscles and slows down digestion. This hormonal surge can also make you feel bloated and gassy (sexy, right?). What's more, your baby puts pressure on your rectum, and you can get dehydrated a lot more easily, which can make it harder for food to pass your digestive system.

Though constipation goes away after pregnancy, you may want to get relief before then. Constipation can lead you to forcefully push during a bowel movement, which can then lead to hemorrhoids. Don't worry though. A few changes in your diet and daily activities can make it all smoother.

Here are 5 tips to help you boost bowel motility and alleviate discomfort associated with pregnancy constipation.

1. Drink water -- lots of it. We know, we know... We keep telling you to drink more water, but hydration is really a "heal-all." Being dehydrated, your large intestine soak up all the water from your food waste, which makes it more difficult to pass through your digestive tract. Drinking a lot of water will soften food waste and promote healthy, easy bowel movement. To make sure you remember to drink enough fluids, keep a reusable bottle with you at all times. Try drinking at least 12 8-oz glasses of water daily. Want to "eat your water"? Watermelons and cucumbers are both great H2O fixes.

2. Keep moving. Working out is a great way to stimulate a gastrocolic response, which controls motility and encourages digestion. Assuming you're pregnancy is moving along and you get the green light from your doctor, you should continue your exercise regimen and even consider incorporating a yoga practice. There are many yoga postures that help alleviate constipation and that are safe during pregnancy.

3. Eat fiber at every meal. Foods that are rich in fibers can help you hold on to water. This, in turn, makes waste smoother and more easily passed through the intestine. Fibers can also add bulk to your decal material, which can then speed up the flow as it passes through your guts. Fiber-rich foods include legumes, prunes, oats, leafy green vegetables like kale, and flaxseed.

4. Consider liquid iron. Iron supplement, which you can find in your prenatal vitamins, has been known to constipate. Though there's not real scientific evidence that liquid iron supplements alleviate constipation, many women have reported an improvement after making the switch. So if you believe in anecdotal evidence and want to try and alleviate some of the discomfort from constipation, give liquid iron supplements like Floradix a try. Before making any decision, talk to your doctor.

5. Put a lemon in your hot drinks. Sorry, mamas. We aren't talking about your daily cup of Joe here, but herbal teas that are safe for pregnancy and that can also promote digestive health. Alternative, you can opt for hot water and honey. Add a little lemon juice -- a natural laxative -- to your warm and soothing beverage. With its high acids content, lemon juice can work magic on the digestive system. It works best to drink your lemon-y beverage in the morning, on an empty stomach. Hopefully, this coupled with your daily activity will help move things along.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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