Constipation during Pregnancy

About 25 per cent of pregnant women suffer from constipation during pregnancy. It’s time to lift the lid on constipation and how to relieve it.

Uncomfortable at the best of times, constipation is one of the least discussed health issues related to pregnancy. But with a quarter of pregnant women suffering from constipation at some point during pregnancy, it’s time to lift the lid on constipation and how to relieve it.


A woman holding a glass of water and a tablet

Why is constipation common during pregnancy?

An increase in progesterone during pregnancy slows down the muscles in the bowl which can cause constipation in some women. Other medicines taken during pregnancy can also make your constipation worse including those prescribed to treat heartburn, nausea and iron deficiency amongst others.

According to The Department of Health, constipation involves infrequent, incomplete and difficult bowel movements which can cause abdominal pain and bloating. So if you’re suffering, don’t hesitate to speak up! Your doctor may be able to recommend you medications or supplements that could help get things moving again.

Is it harmful for my baby?

It's pretty uncomfortable, but the good news is it’s not harmful to your baby. However, that’s not a reason to try and just put up with being constipated. Haemorrhoids are an unpleasant side effect of constipation and it can also put strain on your pelvic floor so it’s best to get it sorted!

What can I do?

Whilst your doctor may be able to recommend medication, there are several things you can do at home in order to relieve the symptoms of constipation

Drink plenty of water

Great for your overall health, making sure you’re hydrated has the added benefit of easing your bowel movements.

Get your fibre

Fibre – rich foods are great for helping you eliminate waste. Make sure you’re getting plenty of the following:

  • fresh fruit and veg
  • wholemeal bread
  • wholemeal breakfast cereals
  • dried fruits
  • nuts
  • legumes

Get on your feet

When you’re pregnant, exercising might be the last thing you want to do. It’s normal to feel tired, experience heartburn and have difficulty sleeping – none of which make you feel inclined to get down the gym. However just getting in some gentle physical exercise could help relieve your symptoms. Try going for a walk or a swim and reap the benefits.

See your doctor

If these strategies do not help, your doctor may be able to recommend medication. Always make sure you consult a health professional and do not self-medicate with over the counter laxatives. Laxative misuse can cause un-wanted side effects so it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Need a little extra support?

Health Concierge

Eligible members with hospital cover can now talk to a member of our Health Concierge team for advice and guidance on how to have a healthy pregnancy, at no extra cost on 1800 789 414.#

Got a health question? 24/7 Medibank nurse phone service

Members with hospital cover can chat to experienced and qualified nurses over the phone to discuss any health questions or concerns and get professional advice on what to do next. Our nurses are available on 1800 644 325~ for round-the-clock health advice.

Medibank Mental Health Phone Support

Members with Hospital cover can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week by calling 1800 644 325.~

Looking for something else?

Visit Medibank Planning, Pregnancy and Parenting for a range of tools and advice to help you at every stage of your pregnancy journey.

Help the way you want it

Contact us 

Call us on 134 190 to speak to a consultant. Alternatively, chat to us 24/7 online.

Self-service options

Login to MyMedibank or Download the MyMedibank App for self service options.

Find a specialist

Find a specialist or Member's choice hospital using our find a provider tool.  

Things you should know

~ OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

# Health Concierge is available to all eligible Medibank members who hold hospital cover. Excludes Overseas Visitor Health Cover, Working Visa Health Cover and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Some referred services may involve out of pocket costs.

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees).