Constipation and pregnancy

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2007;21(5):807-18. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2007.05.005.


Constipation is a common symptom during pregnancy. The majority of cases are simple constipation that occurs due to a combination of hormonal and mechanical factors affecting normal GI function. However, a number of women suffer from constipation prior to conception and find their symptoms worsen during pregnancy. Patients with simple constipation can usually be treated by explanation, reassurance and advice. Medications are best avoided but if necessary should be taken under supervision using best available evidence. It is important that all patients be evaluated by detailed history, physical examination and basic investigations to outrule GI pathology that may be present in a small number of cases. Those whose symptoms predated their pregnancy should be fully evaluated after the puerperium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Constipation / diagnosis*
  • Constipation / epidemiology
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Gastrointestinal Agents