The amount of water each person needs varies depending on their size, activity level, the climate they live in and what they eat. If constipation is a problem, more fluids may be indicated. The easiest way to tell if you are getting enough water in your diet is to monitor the color of your urine. If it is not clear or very pale yellow, it’s probably too concentrated, and you need more water. However, this can be difficult to discern if prenatal or B-vitamin supplements are changing the color of your urine. If you tend to eat dry, non-watery foods, processed foods or concentrated beverages like soda and coffee, more water or watery foods may be indicated. Melons, citrus fruits, cucumbers, salads, brothy soups and herbal tea are examples of watery foods.
For constipation, stool softeners or laxatives are generally unnecessary, as simple natural pregnancy remedies like dietary adjustments usually will do the trick. Adding a couple of servings of fresh, raw vegetables to the diet generally will add enough fiber to stimulate the movement of stool through the bowel. Pregnant women tend to enjoy fruit more than vegetables, which can make this suggestion challenging, so I suggest raw carrots. Their sweetness is appealing and they travel well. One or two raw carrots per day has relieved many a woman in my practice. Baby carrots do not contain sufficient cellulose (fiber) to make them effective for most people, though they still provide calcium and beta-carotene. Carrot juice is not effective because the fiber has been removed.
For both constipation and loose stool, oat bran may be an effective natural pregnancy remedy. It is both bulking to the stool and emollient to the bowel. It contains water-soluble fiber which, if cooked or soaked first, is soothing to the gut. It makes loose stool more firm and makes hard stool softer and easier to pass. It does not cause gas the way psyllium can, and it cooks up into a lovely hot cereal. In addition, oats are said to be soothing to an agitated or anxious nervous system. Though some people enjoy oat bran sprinkled on cold or hot cereal, I always suggest cooking or soaking it, so that it does not absorb moisture from the stool and aggravate an already dry or sluggish bowel.