Join safehugs parenting community on whatsapp now !

Prenatal Digestive Issues (With Expert Advice)

Besides giving you glowing skin and silky hair, Pregnancy can take a toll on your body. It not only drains your energy but also brings along the uncomfortable feeling of Constipation and Nausea. The energy required to supply your baby with what they need to grow requires a balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. 

According to research, conducted by Mayoclinic, Suggests Women to start taking prenatal vitamins atleast four weeks before they conceive to reduce your baby’s risk of birth defects and reduce pregnancy complications. However, not all pregnancies are planned. Do not panic if you just found out that you are expecting and haven’t started your prenatal yet. That’s why at the private practice of board-certified OB/GYN Kelly Morales, MD, recommends all expectant mothers take prenatal vitamins throughout pregnancy.

Folic acid, Zinc, Iron, Iodine and Calcium are essential vitamins to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

Prenatal supplements: The Unsung Hero or the Potential Villain?

Prenatal vitamins are the supplements that contain daily vitamins and minerals you need before and during pregnancy. 

These include :

  •  folic acid (folate), 
  •  calcium, 
  •  iron,
  •  vitamin D, and
  •  iodine  

Prenatal vitamins may also contain

  •  vitamins A, E, C, B, 
  •  zinc, 
  •  magnesium, and
  •  thiamine.

 All of these are important nutrient components that are required for good dietary health.

Side Effects of Prenatals

Prenatal vitamins are essential nutrient support for fetal development and maternal health. It helps in minimizing birth defects in the growing embryo as well as it also helps in reducing pregnancy complications and provides an energy boost to pregnant mothers.

The prenatal vitamins including calcium iron etc are essential for pregnancy but are also known to cause some discomfort among various individuals consuming them.

  • Folic acid is the most important vitamin for pregnant women or women planning pregnancy.The most common side effects associated with vital multivitamins include constipation and nausea. It is due to the iron levels they contain. Some women also may have diarrhea, dark stools, low appetite, and stomach upset or stomach cramps.
  • Iron in prenatal vitamins can be a major cause of constipation. Constipation can be defined as having less than three bowel movements a week or having trouble passing stool, which is fairly common in pregnancy, says Michael Cackovic, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. 
  • DHA might lead to bloating or gas in some pregnant women.
  • Vitamin A is known to cause dry or irritated skin, and in some cases, very high doses of vitamin A can also lead to serious illness.
  • Zinc in higher doses can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, and vomiting in some.
  • Magnesium in high doses could lead to diarrhea, nausea, cramping, or heart issues in extreme cases.

How to Choose Your Prenatal Vitamins?

Selecting prenatal vitamins can be tricky as it is important to consider their ingredients and potential side effects. Here are some key factors to keep in mind while choosing the ones best suited.

  • Iron content: Iron is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, but consuming high doses can contribute to constipation. It is important to look for prenatal vitamins with a lower iron content or choose iron-free options after discussing with a healthcare professional or your midwife.
  • Fiber: Look for prenatal vitamins that contain fiber, as it can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. 
  • Gentle on the stomach: Some prenatal vitamins are formulated with ingredients to be gentle on the stomach, reducing digestive issues like constipation. Opt for brands that specifically mention being gentle on the stomach.

What would experts advise regarding Prenatal vitamins?

  1. Julie Lamppa, CNM RN, a nurse-midwife at the Mayo Clinic says, “Constipation in early pregnancy is common, so experiencing it regularly could offer a clue that you’re expecting. But for most of the women, it is probably not the first or most obvious sign of pregnancy. Constipation in pregnancy can begin early in the first trimester and can continue for days or weeks after the birth. But don’t worry, having early constipation in pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be plugged up for months on end. Often, women will find that it can wax and wane—or they get good control with a little change in their diet, activity, supplements or medications.” She further adds “The increase in progesterone levels plays a big part in causing constipation in the first trimester.” 

  2. Jessica Shepherd, MD, an ob-gyn and the founder of Sanctum Med + Wellness in Dallas, Texas, explains,” As progesterone increases during your pregnancy, it leads to slower-moving intestines.”This means slower digestion, which can lead to constipation.”

  3. The presence of iron in most prenatal vitamins (a mineral that has been linked to constipation) and not drinking enough water to meet your growing needs, can further elevate the problem, says Christine Greves, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, Florida.

Prenatal vitamins are an important part of a healthy pregnancy and Choosing the right one for yourself is essential for a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. By opting for prenatal vitamins that are gentle on the stomach and contain fiber, you can prevent constipation and ensure you and your baby receive the necessary nutrients. It is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your prenatal vitamin routine. It is also important to Check the labels of any vitamins or supplements consumed during pregnancy to ensure you aren't allergic to any of their ingredients and they have been tested by a third-party group like U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF International.

Here's to a happy and constipation-free pregnancy!

Back to blog

Follow us on Instagram for free give aways & more....