01 August 2023

1 in 5 Australians are affected by constipation at some point in their life.


This is a common complaint during pregnancy, affecting almost half of all pregnant women.

The change in hormones along with the growing uterus is responsible for slower bowel movements.

Other common causes include reduced physical activity, low dietary fibre intake, inadequate fluid intake, and increased emotional stress.


Iron supplements have also been proven to worsen gastrointestinal symptoms particularly constipation, bloating and even nausea. It’s important to note that not all forms of supplementary iron are the same. Working with a dietitian and your medical care team can help you find the right supplement and dosing strategy so that you can continue to treat your iron deficiency without the uncomfortable side effects.


Fibre is essential for a healthy gut. Eating enough keeps your digestive system active. Aim for a minimum of 30g of total fibre each day, focusing on a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Examples of high fibre foods are apples, pears, dates, green leafy vegetables, peas, legumes, sweet potato, oats, and chia seeds.


Fluid needs in pregnancy tend to increase due to the increase in fluid volume and total body mass. Even mild dehydration can reduce the amount of daily bowel movements.

Fluid needs vary from person to person. A good aim is to drink at least 2 litres per day from water, herbal tea, milk, coconut water, and broths/soups. This can help to soften stools so they pass through more freely.


Putting up with gastrointestinal discomfort is not something you should have to deal with. Start by making a few of the above mentioned diet and lifestyle adjustments. If you are still struggling or unsure of where to start, book in with a dietitian to get the tailored support you need.


Daily home remedy:

In a glass, mix together 2 teaspoons of chia seeds in 125ml of water.
Wait a few minutes before drinking.
Best taken in the evening.


Kristen Djermanovic

Accredited Practising Dietitian & Accredited Sports Dietitian



To read Kristen Djermanovic’s biography, go to: www.alphingtonsportsmed.com.au/practitioners#kristen-djermanovic-nee-papathanasiou- 
You can also book an appointment with her while online, or phone the Clinic on 9481 5744.