Do you feel a bit bloated?
Your tummy might be swelling up a bit here in week 6, but it’s not because the baby is growing; The hormone progesterone is very important during pregnancy, because it helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy and supports the fetus as it grows. However, progesterone also relaxes your intestines and slows them down, giving the colon more time to absorb nutrients and water from your food, which leads to more nutrients for your baby. Unfortunately for you, this also means that you can get constipated.
The best way to combat constipation is to eat fiber-rich foods and make sure you drink enough water. Foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole-grain bread are good sources of fiber and try to measure your fluid intake. Too much iron in your prenatal vitamin supplements can also cause constipation, so if the problem continues, maybe try a different kind of prenatal vitamin with a lower dose of iron.
These boots were made for walking
Another great way to ease constipation is getting 20-30 minutes of exercise every day. A low impact form of exercise, like walking, cycling or swimming is generally recommended, as your body also produces a hormone called relaxin during your pregnancy. You can almost think of this as a “prepping” hormone: Relaxin preps your body for the upcoming childbirth, by loosening your ligaments, especially around the pelvis (which can lead to lower back pain). It also affects other joints, in particular the hips, shoulders, feet and ankles. This is pretty clever, but unfortunately also makes your ligaments and joints more vulnerable to injuries.
If you were very active and sporty before your pregnancy, there should be no need to stop; just take it slow and listen to your body. You can find many low-impact exercises and training schedules designed especially for pregnancy on the internet. If you are ever in doubt, or feel any pain or discomfort, consult your doctor or midwife.
Read more about the next week of your pregnancy in week 7 of our week-by-week pregnancy calendar.