An increase in the prevalence of constipation during pregnancy has been suggested to occur.
Dr Julio Ponce and colleagues from Italy designed a prospective study to evaluate the prevalence of constipation during pregnancy and puerperium.
The investigative team investigated possible associations with eating habits and lifestyle, and evaluated the frequency of laxative use.
|Self-reported constipation in the first trimester was 45%|
|European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The team developed a structured questionnaire addressing demographics, obstetric characteristics, lifestyle, and eating habits.
The investigators also included variables required for the diagnosis of constipation, and laxative use.
The questionnaire was administered in the obstetric clinic in the first trimester of pregnancy.
In the second and third trimesters, and in the puerperal period the questionnaire was administered by telephone.
The investigators found that the prevalence of self-reported constipation in the first and second trimester was 45%, and 37%, respectively.
In the third trimester, and in the puerperal period, the prevalence of self-reported constipation was 39%, and 42%, respectively.
Prevalence defined by the Rome II criteria for the same time periods was 30%, 19%, 22%, and 25%, respectively.
The investigative team found these values were similar to the data previously reported for the female population.
Agreement between the self-reported and Rome II results was moderate.
The self-reported criterion showed high sensitivity in all time periods, using the Rome II criterion as gold-standard.
The team found no factor was associated with variations in the prevalence of constipation during pregnancy.
However, an increase was recorded in the consumption of fruit, vegetables, fiber, and water.
Dr Ponce‘s team concluded, "The prevalence of constipation during pregnancy and puerperium is similar to that recorded among the female population from the same geographic area."