Dr Mini Salunkhe: What is the best way to treat constipation during pregnancy?

Here are questions from readers that were addressed by leading obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Mini Salunkhe. The identities of the solution-seekers have been withheld to protect their privacy.

Dear Doctor, I am entering my eighth month of pregnancy. I have been going through a tough time dealing with constipation, what is the best way to treat it? 

Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy. You should drink plenty of water and have a high fiber diet. Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables, fruits, proteins in your diet. Avoid refined flour products such as pastries, pasta, bread, cakes and white rice to prevent constipation. Iron supplements also increase constipation. You could ask your gynaecologist to suggest alternatives.  Additionally your gynaecologist will help you by prescribing a non-habit forming, low absorption, and safe laxative to have during pregnancy. This will help ease your discomfort.

Doctor as a precautionary parent, I would like to know if there are any tips I should know about breast feeding.

Breast feeding in reality takes a lot of patience, observation and effort. Proper positioning, proper latching are are the initial important steps to comfortable breast feeding. Feed your baby every two to three hours initially. The maternity nurses or hospital lactation consultant can offer you breast feeding tips to get you started comfortably.

If I am suffering from AIDS, will my child suffer from it as well? 

HIV Positive mothers can have HIV Negative babies. Your health care professional will start you on HIV treatment which will be continued during your pregnancy, labour and nursing. Your baby can be delivered normally or by caesarian section depending on what is advised by your gynaecologist. Your doctor may decide on treatment for your baby if need be, soon after your baby is born.

Dear Doctor, I have always experienced pain while having sex. I feel the pain deep inside my vagina during penetration. Could this be the result of an infection? Please help me.

Painful intercourse can be caused by numerous physical and/or psychological causes. Infections example, urinary tract infections or pelvic inflammation, endometriosis retroverted uterus etc. Additionally lack of lubrication, previous scar tissue, abnormal growths, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, pelvic muscle spasms may also lead to painful sexual intercourse. Psychological causes such as vaginismus also leads to pain during sex.  A detailed evaluation by your gynaecologist is suggested to understand and  treat the problem.

Thank you readers for all the feedback. It’s indeed heartening to know that this column is helping you deal with common concerns and myths associated with women’s health.

Do keep writing in with your queries on editorial@pune365.com (please mention “For Dr Mini Salunkhe” in the subject line. I will be more than happy to address them as soon as I can)

Dr Mini Salunkhe

Dr Mini Salunkhe

Dr Mini Salunkhe is a senior gynaecologist practising in Pune for over a decade. Apart from being a private practitioner, she is a consulting obstetrician and gynaecologist at Inamdar Hospital. Dr Salunkhe addresses reader queries every Friday on Pune365.
Dr Mini Salunkhe