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Constipation in Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be constipating. This is not something one can expect to simply go away until after delivery. Once it starts a pregnant woman is best off to recognize it as a pregnancy-long issue, and try to manage it daily. Constipation is not something to cure, rather it is something to manage. One has to find a solution, and keep it up. If you stop the solution the constipation will probably return. Time usually fixes all, but before that, we have meds.

Managing Constipation

There are levels, or degrees, of constipation management:

  • Many women can manage the constipation with diet and increased fluid intake.
  • The next step is “what you usually do” for constipation.
  • Next is an over the counter laxative. Just about all laxatives are safe in pregnancy. An easy and effective regimen is DOCUSATE SODIUM, 100 mg twice a day until the stools are too soft, then once each day.
  • MORE: Milk of Magnesia, 2 tablespoons, every 4-6 hours, to help the DOCUSATE work.
  • EVEN MORE: Magnesium Citrate 4 to 8 ounces. This is quite extreme, and can lead to lots of diarrhea. Do not use this without speaking to a doctor. Most women will not want to leave the house for 8 hours after drinking the Magnesium Citrate.

Medications and Constipation

Certain medicines can make constipation worse, especially pain medicines. The following medicines may be constipating:

  • Percocet / Oxycodone
  • Vicodin / Hydrocodone
  • T-3 / Tylenol with Codeine

Certain pain medicines are NOT constipating:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin) – DO NOT USE IN PREGNANCY

What Should You Try

The following medicine is a good way to manage constipation

  • Docusate Sodium 100 mg, take one pill every 12 hours until the stools are too soft. Then take one pill a day.
  • Milk of Magnesia, two table spoons every 4-6 houirs, if the Docusate is not working well enough. And be sure to KEEP TAKING the docusate sodium.
  • Mirilax 17 grams, daily, with 8 oz water.

If at any point you become concerned about what to take or have questions please don’t hesitate to contact the office.