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Study Finds Constipation More Prevalent During Pregnancy

Constipation typically occurs during pregnancy due to an increase in the pregnancy hormone progesterone. According to a new study, the prevalence of constipation in pregnant women may be 2 to 3 times higher than in non-pregnant women.

Participants in the study included 474 pregnant women, 403 postpartum women, and 200 non-pregnant women. They completed a questionnaire that evaluated bowel function and other gastrointestinal symptoms during the 2ndand 3rdtrimesters, a few days after childbirth, and one month after childbirth.

The researchers found that 40% of the pregnant women and 52% of the postpartum women reported experiencing constipation, compared to 21% of non-pregnant women. After delivery, 47% of participants who had a vaginal delivery and 57% of women who had a caesarean section reported experiencing constipation. Prevalence of constipation one month postpartum was reduced to 9% in participants who had a vaginal delivery and 15% in those who had a caesarean section. In addition, 34% of pregnant women reported experiencing nausea and vomiting.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland. It was published online ahead of print on October 8, 2020 in the International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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