Constipation is mainly caused by a poor diet, irregular bowel movements and lack of fluids. However the cause of constipation in babies, adults and women during pregnancy are different.

The cause of constipation in babies

When babies start to eat solid food, the colour and texture of stools become different. When they are breastfed, the stools smell sweet and soft. Since being fed by solid foods, the stools become harder and contain undigested food. Sometimes a baby doesn’t have a bowel movement for a couple of days; the parents might be concerned that their baby is constipated. Afterwards the stools appear and are still soft and smooth, it indicates everything is fine.

Baby constipation is very painful, because they are too small, they don’t know how to force the stools out of their body, they cry and don’t want to eat. This bout of constipation normally occurs once a baby starts to eat solid food. The digestion system is not fully developed to cope with the solid foods, the baby hold the stools back in the anus, which leads to light constipation. In this case, the parents can feed the baby with more soft and well-cooked food with sufficient fluid as well as fruit juice, such as carrot and orange juices to naturally help the baby’s intestines to get used to the new texture of nutrition.

The cause of constipation in adults

The cause of constipation in adults is more complex than babies. What foods can cause constipation?

1. Red meats

Many people are only in favour of red meats, such as beef steak, lamb and pork. They seldom eat the vegetables rich in fibre. Those meats contain protein and fat which are hard to be digested in the intestines; which leads to dry stools.

2. Foods rich in sugar

Many foods contain a huge amount of sugar, such as biscuits and lollies. They are also very dried and oven baked. Lack of fluid and rich in sugar, those characteristics of foods cause adults constipated.

3. Dairy products

Dairy products such as cheese, milk, butter and ice cream can cause adults to become constipated. They are rich in protein and protein is hard to be fully digested if over-eaten, it makes the stomach bloated and full of gas. However yogurt is very special, it contains numerous live bacteria and leads to bowel movements more frequently than normal.

What foods cause women constipated during pregnancy?

When women are pregnant, they have less exercise movements but eat more than normal; they are frustrated by constipation during pregnancy. What foods should pregnant women eat less of?

1. Greasy foods

Stir fried foods are greasy, containing vegetable oil, they are not easily digested. The greasy foods consist of chips, fried chickens, eggs and sausages.

2. Processed and refined foods

Processed and refined foods are hard to be digested also. Foods such as pizza, lasagne, frozen sausage rolls and spring rolls are some examples. It takes more time to consume and digest them for pregnant women because of a lack of physical exercise.

Therefore, pregnant women better eat more vegetables and fruits such as prunes, pears, broccoli, carrots, celery and beans. Those foods make their stools soft, especially a couple of weeks before delivery, those foods also really aid pregnant women in bowel movements, otherwise a dry stool may cause an abortion at an early stage of pregnancy and premature birth at a later stage of pregnancy when they sit fighting against constipation and the excessive air forces cause an unexpected accident to pregnant women.

Overall the symptoms of constipation for babies, adults and women in pregnancy are different, if the causes are predicted, it can be avoided by taking precautious measures.

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