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2. Normal Discomforts of Pregnancy
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c. Constipation during Pregnancy
1) Definition: Hard, infrequent stools; may occur throughout pregnancy.

2) Physiological basis

(a) The smooth muscle of the bowel relaxes due to increased progesterone.   (b) Increased absorption of water from the bowel contributes to hard stool.   (c) The bowels are compressed by the enlarged uterus.   (d) Iron supplements can also lead to constipation.   (e) Decreased activity is another contributor. 3) Management (a) Expectant mother should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.   (b) Daily exercise, as permitted by the OB care provider.   (c) Increase roughage foods in your diet, e.g., apples, salads, whole wheat and bran cereals, and prunes.   (d) Use stool softeners only as prescribed by the OB care provider.
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(e) If the expectant mother complains of severe discomfort, notify your OB care provider.
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