Laxative Abuse And Pregnancy

Laxative Abuse And Pregnancy

Some women struggled with laxative dependency before pregnancy whereas some have it during pregnancy. Either way, it could post danger to both baby and mother. This page will cover both scenarios, risk of laxatives use during those period of time and safer alternatives. 

Laxative Dependency Prior Pregnancy

One of the main reasons woman get addicted to laxative is strong desire for beauty. Woman suffers from eating disorders such as anorexia, extreme dieting or bulimia nervosa desperately want to maintain weight and body shape. Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by abnormal low body weight, fear of gaining weight and having a distorted perception of body weight. People with this problem put high value on controlling their weight and shape over anything else. To achieve this purpose, they may severely restrict amount of food they eat and control their calories intake by vomiting after eating, misuse laxatives or exercise excessively. People with bulimia may binge (eating large amount of food) and then purge them to get rid of calories intake in an unhealthy way such as laxatives misuse.

Laxative Dependency During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, laxative abuse may happen to woman who suffered from eating disorders or constipation. For a healthy child-bearing, woman will gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. This seems natural and healthy but it concern woman with eating disorder, who have unrealistic view of weight gain and body shape. Eating disorders usually went unnoticed during pregnancy and hide away from family and friends. Apart from purging and over exercise, laxative was used to burn calories.

Constipation is another common problem during pregnancy, almost half of child-bearing woman have this issue at some point. This was due to increase in pregnancy hormone that relaxes muscles in the bowel and expanding of uterus in rectum. When natural methods of relieving constipation didn’t work out, laxatives are often prescribed by doctor as alternatives.

Safe Laxative Consumption During Pregnancy


Probiotics for Pregnant women is best alternative to laxatives. If that does not work, then milk of magnesia is one of the mild laxatives considered safe to be taken during child-bearing to improve constipation. If that didn’t help, next safe laxative will be bulk-producing agent like Metamucil or stool softener that contains docusate. Stronger laxative like stimulant laxatives that often contain chemical called senna should only be used occasionally in short term to avoid causing electrolyte imbalance or dehydration in pregnant women. Avoid using cod liver oil during pregnancy as it can hinder the absorption of specific vitamins and minerals.

Risk of Laxative Abuse During Pregnancy

Laxative abuse if not treated timely, could increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, cesarean section, postnatal depression or disturbed breast feeding behavior. Misuse of laxative during child-bearing can put your baby at risk for deformities and a wide range of other health problems.

Treatment for Laxative Abuse During Pregnancy

Medication treatment is normally not recommended during child-bearing and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is often preferred. CBT will help patient flush out negative thoughts and destructive behaviors that stop eating disorders like purging and laxative abuse. Slowly cut down laxative usage and increase natural intake like fibre, veggies, fruits, fluids, and probiotics. Lastly, joined support group that provide relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing.