No one wants to talk about it, but we all want to know how to relieve the uncomfortable constipation that often accompanies holiday travel and stress. Not only does constipation make you feel less than content, but it causes unsightly belly swells and bulges! The truth is, for many it isn’t only an issue during the holiday season. In fact, it’s much more frequent than that, and it’s worse for us Moms. Clients that come to us as new moms who are looking to get their bodies back often tell us that before they had their baby they got the low-down on what to expect. They learned about everything from sleepless nights to projectile vomit to lack of sexual desire, but they often tell us, they didn’t get the “scoop on poop.” They wish they had known to expect constipation and how to handle it.
Based on what we know as dietitians, we weren’t surprised by a recent survey, conducted by Russell Research in collaboration with Colace® Capsules, that reveals that nearly one-half (47%) of new moms were affected by constipation or other digestive issues, and nine in 10 (89%) of those who experienced constipation say they had difficulty “getting things moving” in the days immediately following childbirth. This definitely was an issue for Tammy when she was in the hospital after having her twin girls. Not a pretty picture.
Don’t worry, constipation and difficulty going to the bathroom are common after childbirth, and moms shouldn’t be embarrassed to discuss it. We’re here to tell you how to feel your best and be bloat free, whether you’re a new mom dealing with occasional constipation or simply facing the stressful holiday season. Follow these simple tips:
1. Eat plenty of fiber. This is your first secret weapon. Without it, you’re asking for trouble. Fiber acts like a sponge in the intestines, holding water. As the stool absorbs water, it becomes softer and easier to pass. (We never said the truth is glamorous!) Fiber is found in many vegetables, fruits, and in whole grains and beans. If you aren’t already eating enough fiber, be sure to add it to your diet gradually so your body gets used to it. Try these tricks to get more fiber:
• Have oatmeal for breakfast and brown rice or whole wheat bread with lunch or dinner.
• Have fruit (like apples, pears or berries) for snacks or add them to cereal, salads or yogurt and have them for dessert.
• Add veggies to every meal–to sandwiches, omelets, casseroles, burritos, pizza and pasta sauces. Beans, carrots, spinach, broccoli and corn are great options.
• Limit foods that have little or no fiber such as pizza, ice cream, cheese, meat, snacks like chips, and processed foods such as instant mashed potatoes or frozen dinners.
2. Drink plenty of water/ fluid. Drinking enough fluid is important because dehydration can cause constipation. Plain water is best, but any non-alcoholic drink will do. Aim for roughly 9, eight-ounce glasses of water a day.
• Make a habit of having at least one cup of water with each meal.
• Warm beverages, like tea or hot water may help to stimulate bowel movements.
3. Exercise. Regular exercise helps to relieve stress and it gets blood and oxygen flowing throughout your body. This will get your digestive system active and healthy and will help to pass the food through your system. Exercising 20 to 30 minutes every day may help. So do everything you can to get moving!
4. When all else fails…Of course healthy eating habits and regular exercise are the best ways to prevent constipation, but sometimes a little extra help may be needed.
• It’s perfectly safe to try Colace® Capsules, the #1 stool softener brand recommended by doctors and pharmacists. Colace® Capsules offer a gentle way to restore regularity. Whether you’re a new mom who wants to be able to focus on your baby or whether you’re travelling over the holiday season and simply want to enjoy it, you deserve to have fun without the disruption of constipation.
• A word from Tammy: As a Mom, I know how challenging it is to deal with sleepless nights, finding time to exercise and maintaining a good diet. These are all important in helping to avoid occasional constipation. It’s good to know I have a fallback plan for those “special” times when I need a little something extra.
The Nutrition Twins® are members of the Purdue Products Constipation Crew of health experts.